I still remember Jalsat, the small kiosk up in Mayrouba near the local spring as if it was yesterday. We were kids and used to ask my parents to take me there. Today, I am back for the memories... I have grown and so as Jalsat, a now standalone location on Mayrouba's internal road.
A stone house topped with red bricks with glass all around it, a view of the facing mountains which today, on a sunny winter's day, are covered in snow.
Inside this cozy space the ambiance looks like an old village cottage. The floor is covered with beige ceramics, a large drinks bar welcomes you at the entrance, a chimney takes over the left corner and the walls are covered with stones and a special barley mix. Dark wooden tables are ready to seat you, surrounded by relaxing chairs. The ceiling is also covered with wood, a relaxing restaurant with a mountainous spirit.
The first impression:
- In the past I was used to being served by the owners, three brothers known for their welcoming and hospitality, but things have changed.
- Service has become extremely bad. The waiters, wearing their own clothes, did not smile once. Unhappy with their jobs, they have no clue about the menu and how to ooze the client to order some of their specials.
- Drinks are served without cups or ice.
- Looking at the kitchen, I didn't see any decent, clean clothes, nor any gloves being used for sanitary reason. The cook was happily chewing his gum while working his way around the kitchen.
Just a side note. Their prices are reasonable, cheap in fact. Maybe this explains the 'laisser-aller attitude.
- 3al Lebneneh
The specialties are known all over the land. The special Tawouk, the famous submarine and their burger. The Lebanese section has been newly introduced.
We ordered lunch:
- Chips and Cheese (mozzarella and French fries) LBP6,000. Fries and melting cheese. The fries are not crunchy enough to be called chips.
- Special Taouk (Taouk, coleslaw, French fries, ketchup, garlic, ham, cheese fondel) LBP7,000. A loaded sandwich of tender Lebanese bread filed with soft chicken, melting cheese and a slice of ham. The coleslaw adds juiciness and flavor. A little bit of garlic that's very reasonable, but I'd personally add a bit of ketchup to give a lasting flavor and some sweetness.
- Hamburger (meat, coleslaw, French fries, ketchup) LBP5,000. I was expecting a homey style, Lebanese burger but this was way too Kafta'ish. The meat is too hard, too condensed and too dry. The bread is not too fresh.
- Submarine (salami, ham, cheese fondel, olives, coleslaw, mayonnaise, pickles, ketchup) a large submarine bread prepared the Lebanese way, filled with a load of crunchy, fresh vegetables with cheese melting over ham and salami. I enjoyed the crunchiness of the bread and the filling, but the sandwich was way too salty. I think it's the pickles.
- Chicken cordon bleu (chicken, coleslaw, mayonnaise, French fries, tomato, pickles) LBP15,000. The plate is very generous, the fries were good, the coleslaw tasty with a load of mayonnaise, but the chicken's covering was too thick, too hard and the filling too stingy. Not good at all. As for the fries, half of them were undercooked.
Disappointed, I left disappointed. I was expecting something completely different. I was expecting to relive my childhood memories... I was expecting to be welcomed and served by the three brothers - the owners. I was expecting to see them working in the kitchen... I was expecting the food to be as good as it was years ago, or even better.
But all I got was disappointment.
Jalsat, Mayrouba-Hrajel internal road +961-3-895970