May 03, 2013 Dbayeh Mount Lebanon Lebanon Middle East

Al Balad: Blueberry Square's Lebanese Restaurant (Restaurant Closed)

Phone Number: +961 3 136333

Address: Blueberry Square, Dbayeh Highway, Metn, Lebanon


Price Range: 15-25 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 7.5/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 26/30

Architecture / Interior: 5/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: Soon

Let's Burger, MBCo and now Al Balad. Three restaurants, part of the new Blueberry Square reviewed with the aim to cover them all within the next couple of weeks. Al Balad restaurant first opened in the heart of Beirut in 1999, introducing the concept of Lebanese dining in a casual atmosphere. Lebanese traditions are preserved in each of their recipes, based on the most innovative combinations of the finest ingredients. This has proved successful, and soon after, the expansions of Al Balad began in Lebanon and the Middle East. I have always been a fan of Al Balad fan up until many restaurants started mushrooming around. Trying the new places around town, made my visits to Al Balad fewer. I went back and this time to their new location to get nostalgic.


Enter the atrium of Blueberry Square and find Al Balad to your right occupying the corner of the back area. A large square with high ceiling, an oriental ambiance with soft musical tunes welcome you as the staff stands by with a smile. We decided to sit outside as the majority wanted to smoke. Dinner started with black olives and a basket of bread: Zaatar toasted bread and a bag of round Lebanese dough specially produced for Al Balad.


The place:

  • A squarish restaurant with an outside terrace
  • A bar on the right side of the place welcomes you
  • Glass lamps pending from the ceiling
  • Couches on the sides and wooden tables in the middle surrounded by violet tissue relaxing chairs
  • Mirrors here and there make the place look bigger
  • Super ugly cheap plastic tables on the outside that rock like a boat during a hurricane: I didn't like them at all
  • Fayrouz tunes play softly in the background
  • An oil bottle as well as salt and pepper shakers are placed on every table

Al Balad has changed. AL Balad has improved tremendously. The little tiny menu that once was, has expanded since October 2012 covering all major sections of the Lebanese Mezze. This time the Fatteh section caught my attention.


The menu sections:

  • Cold
  • Salads
  • Hot
  • Potato & Fattat
  • Oven
  • Grill
  • Specialities Grill Al Balad
  • Desserts
  • Juices & Lebanese Syrups
  • Soda, Beer, Whisky, Arak, Wine & Champagne
  • Coffee & Tea


We ordered:

  • Hommos Al Balad
  • Moutabbal Eggplant
  • Labneh Al Balad
  • Al Raheb Eggplant
  • Tabbouleh
  • Grilled Halloum
  • Potato Coriander
  • Balila
  • Fatteh Hommos
  • Chicken Liver
  • Beetroot Orange Salad
  • Halloum Bel Ajine
  • Meat Almond Dates


The food:

  • Hommos Al Balad: A spicy reddish mix of hummus that is tasty and beautifully presented
  • Moutabbal Eggplant: Is just good
  • Labneh Al Balad: A mix of vegetables with a premium Labneh. I loved it
  • Al Raheb Eggplant: Well seasoned and tasty
  • Tabbouleh: Fresh, clean and clear
  • Grilled Halloum: 6 slices of grilled halloumi in a plate. Wouldn't be better to serve them in a Fokhars so they stay hot longer
  • Balila: We ordered it without garlic. Good, soft and full of taste
  • Fatteh Hommos: Yummy. I love this plate and they do it perfectly well at Al Balad
  • Chicken Liver: One of the tenderest chicken liver I've ever experienced. So juicy they melt under your teeth creating an ultimate pleasure
  • Beetroot Orange Salad: Nothing special about it. An unneeded order
  • Halloum Bel Ajine: Just wow. A extravagant yet simple creation. A beautiful round dough covered with Halloum, fresh Zaatar, tomato slices and sumac on a layer of basil spread
  • Meat Almond Dates: Simply wow! A tender mix of soft slices of meat mixed with fried almonds that crunch pleasantly. Dates add a certain sweet finesse found in a few plates around Lebanese restaurants

I complained about two plates:

  • The Fatteh was served with garlic, although I specifically asked that it be prepared without garlic
  • The potato coriander was too salty

The waiters and manager where super attentive to the matter and changed the plates immediately. Well appreciated


Dessert were offered on the house:

  • Halawa ice cream with Jellab: An awesome creation I recommend everyone to try. A layer of chocolate ice cream, Halawa ice cream, biscuit and a concentrated jellab sauce... all gives it a passionate and pleasant aftertaste.
  • The Ismaliyeh is so fresh and so crunchy even though I would have preferred it with kashta ice cream instead of the regular kashta


The details I liked:

  • Nice and large soft drinks cups
  • The water cups are thick and sturdy
  • Their signature ceramic brown serving plates are still here and blend perfectly with the decoration
  • The serving spoons are larger than average and designed specially for this job
  • The manager is so nice, welcoming, attentive and professional: A big bravo
  • Thank you for offering us desserts to compensate for the garlic in the fateh and the salty potatoes


The minuses:

  • Put yourself in a tourist's shoes; What does fattat mean on the menu? Or a section called oven? Do you sell ovens? I would like to know what Chanklish is. How about you tell me what Hindbeh means for an American. The menu needs to be more detailed and must include more   explanations. It is translated from Arabic like kids do at school
  • The outside tables are really not up to the restaurant's level: A must change

As I previously said, I have always loved Al Balad since it started. This place has excelled tremendously, with a nice place, bigger menu and a better service that will make any customer happy. A small note on the menu that marked me: "For You", dedicated to a husband and an entrepreneur who disappeared in the Ethiopian plane crash a couple of years ago. Al Balad is a project that is continuing no matter what...


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