CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Tabliers: Metn Welcomes the First Bistro Ambiance (Restaurant Closed)
Tabliers: Feeling so Sad… The Restaurant has Unfortunately Closed
List of Christmas dishes
If you live in Metn area and are planning to go out, the first area that comes to mind is Beirut, or maybe Dbayeh, the popular dining hub, but how about you look a little further afield? Did you look close to home or up the hills surrounding the capital? Up on the Rabieh/Mtayleb road is a restaurant you must try, a restaurant that serves fine food at affordable prices in a casual ambiance; Welcome to Tabliers – which means ‘the aprons’ in English.
The Rabieh/Mtayleb/Mazraat Yachouh region has been booming in the past couple of years with new restaurant franchises, banks, renowned shops and small eateries all opening. Although the traffic has increased and can be annoying, I look at it in a positive way. Traffic means work, action, people moving around… it means life is going along smoothly as the area booms. Our concern here is of course restaurants, and there are quite a few places already opened, all offering something new to the area. But what was lacking is a simple French bistro offering decent and tasty food. Thankfully, Tabliers filled this gap when it opened on the Naccach/Mtayleb highway. I was intrigued by the name and how the place is described as “Restaurant et Atelier de Cuisine”.
This was my second visit, and the second time I was amazed with the quality of food, rarely found around town. The place in few words:
- On the first floor of the Centre (Photo Noubar) in Naccach, Tablier welcomes you for lunch and dinner
- A one-door small place, cozy and calm, it holds up to forty guests
- Outside, two wine barrels transformed into tables are perfect for the smokers among you
- The place includes seven tables that can host four to six people
- White walls are decorated with some writing and a few posters
- Dark wood parquet covers the floor
- A bar to the left with four metallic high stools: the signature look of all French Bistros
- Bottles decorate the bar wall
- At the end of the restaurant are two mirror windows, giving a view of the kitchen behind
- On the right wall, four paintings remind you of Parisian streets and their ambiance
- Burgundy placemats decorate all the tables alongside a fork, knife and bread plate
- Pour se rafraichir (pour se rechauffer during winter time)
- Côté verdure
- Pour les gourmands
- Cote Tartare
- Côté chaleur
Dinner started with a basket of bread (multi-cereal and white) provided from DeliFrance and served with a ball of butter. A fine bread, that's served warm with a crunchy feel. Dinner is served:
- Trio de quinoa, figues et pomme verte au curaçao d'orange LBP18,000: On a round plate, a beautifully decorated salad is served. A trio of quinoa mixed with bits of figs, crunchy apples and orange curaçao that makes all the difference. Perfectly cooked quinoa along a blend of rich flavors and interesting textures all together create a perfect salad up to the standard of starred restaurants. The blend of the different ingredients, each adding a touch, a finesse collaborating to put a smile on your face.
- Salade de lentils a la Lyonnaise LBP18,000: A lentil salad the Lyon style usually contains boiled eggs but not at Tabliers. Chef Nicolas' version of this salad consists of freshly boiled lentils served in a bowl, topped with roquette leaves and seasoned in a rich lemony and sour seasoning. Not only that; on top of this beautiful mix is a white chunk you might think of as a mozzarella buffala but it's not. Perfectly poached in water and decorated with tiny bits of green onions, this rock is only awaited to explode its inner content. A warm egg, a melting yellow heart, a cold salad, crunchy greenery, a lemony sauce... That's a hell of a tasty salad!
- Salade Fraicheur LBP18,000: Fresh greenery decorated with orange quarters and asparagus shoots.
- Camembert roti, pomme grenaille et champignon de Paris LBP27,000: Just imagine... A complete mold of camembert cheese cut in eight portions and topped with honey before being baked in the oven. Melting like a heart in love, this fine cheese is then topped with honey and rosemary. You might need to close your eyes to handle the emotions that will take you back to France on a culinary journey where cheese and sweetness merge. Surely not the lightest out there, the first bite will make you forget the guilt guiding you into a journey of dreams. On the support plate, grilled potatoes and fresh mushrooms accompany the mix. That's a huge portions preferably shared by two.
- Linguine aux calamars LBP23,000: Some pasta many Italian restaurants don't know how to master. Cooked al dente like they should be and mixed with a perfect homemade sauce, the calamari just add the name to those fine linguini. Look at the picture, you might want to count the calamari to confirm the generosity of this plate. Bravo!
- Filet de boeuf LBP41,000: A perfectly cooked tender meat, that's for sure but the sauce that comes with it is to die for. Waw! The plate is served with freshly cut potatoes laid along side the meat.
- Crevettes grilles avec risotto citron LBP65,000: That plate I personally ordered gave me time to appreciate its content. The experience started before I even picked the first bite. A cocktail of aromatic particles activated all my culinary senses while the plate landed in front of me. Three large prawns, grilled to perfection are served next to a lemon risotto, full of taste but unfortunately undercooked and dry. I'm sure it's a mistake that won't be repeated.
- Pizza Chèvre LBP19,000: OK! At first you’ll say a pizzeria wannabe. What is a pizza doing in a French bistro? But you’re wrong! This is an awesome pizza revisited the French way, with a dough like no other. Ingredients include a rich cheese you’ll never have tasted before and a tomato sauce only a few know how to master in our country. Lightly crunchy on the sides, the heart of the pizza is lightly covered in a homemade tomato sauce absorbed by the dough without soaking it, all covered with the freshest of ingredients; roquette leaves, cherry tomatoes and chunks of goat cheese... This pizza is a must try. The dough is unique. The ingredients are unique specially the goat cendré. Exquisite to say the least, the pizza really has a certain finesse, making it a kind of fine dining pizza I've not often had.
- Pizza Regina LBP15,000: As good as its cousin, the regina pizza uses surely the same unique dough while being fully loaded with italian parmesan cheese, homemade tomato sauce, smoked ham, aged black olives. The pizza, which is not watery and not oily has a certain smokiness that's just unique. I'm not sure how would I put this pizza in my Top10 Italian pizzas in Lebanon but on whatever list it will be, it's a must try for sure.
Dinner was exceptional while we couldn't stop looking at each other in amazement. Why would only famous names work, what does the location have with the success of a restaurant? I hope many of you will give Tabliers a try, encouraging a chef with a bright future ahead. Bravo Nicolas, you deserve a hand. Dessert is as good as dinner:
- Lemon sorbet LBP8,000: Homemade Lemon sorbet, light like air, rich like fresh lemon and mixed with tiny little bits of lemon peel that make this ice cream unique of kind.
- Tarte au Chocolat Coulant LBP13,000: On my last visit, I left it as a surprise without describing this finger licking amazing dessert. I will do the same this time again encouraging you to discover it for yourself... just enjoy the photo in the meantime.
- The food, it was great. Bravo
- The details of the place and food; they’re up to fine-dining standards
- The plates are beautifully presented
I would change to improve:
- The music doesn't fit with the concept... at all. Get a new playlist
- Wines should be classified by country. A list of a dozen wines, all mixed together without the country of origin of each
- Add the pizza ingredients and those of the other plates as well. Can't we know what's inside each plate before ordering it?
- I'd use the Sohat glass bottles not the cheap plastic ones that don't fit this kind of restaurant
- I like the pepper mill, how about we add a salt mill as well?
Honestly, I was surprised that day. The saying goes, “knisé il aribé ma teshfé” and we often believe that we have to do a long distance to enjoy some good food. I am happy to say that I had really good food in a place right next to my house. The experience was great on all fronts. The prawns were awesome; the salad was exquisite and the pizza totally superb. As for the desserts, all I can say is that each is simply greatness served on a plate. A French casual bistro with fine dining offerings that’s close to home is a dream come true. We were 4, enjoyed a sumptuous dinner with a bottle of wine, all together for only 52$/person.