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Lina's ABC: Achrafieh's Meeting Point
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Breakfast at Lina's Kaslik: Le Matin Plaisir!
Lina's: The Kaslik Location Needs Renovation
Lina's ABC Achrafieh has moved to where Magnolia used to be. The big Magnolia is now Lina's, a new decor, a fresher look with a touch of finesse. I was here to check it out and look into their new hot menu, served between lunch and midnight.
Enter into a salon, a place looking like home covered with light wood pallets, a parquet floor on one side and black tiles in the other, the famous black colors Lina's use, a soft music and some positive vibes overlooking a fence of green trees. On the white walls signs are written, one I remember was, "The chef is always right", "The renewal of the traditional French coffee shop since 1989" and the famous black wall facing the entrance with some of Lina's catchy touches.
Burgundy, light green and beige sofas new and different from the old ones, with wood strips used as arm support. The glass fridge is still here for you to see how those fresh sandwiches are made, and the menu, displayed behind the chefs, is there for a quick idea of the offerings.
The menu is being refreshed yearly with the breakfast page, the starters, salads, sandwiches, the light sandwiches, the hot plates, sushi, desserts and drinks.
The big change: Lina's is not only about sandwiches anymore, so better call it Lina's Cafe or Paris. Good sandwiches of course, but wait until you've tried their hot meals.
The hot plates:
- Australian Angus beef
- Steak frites
- Chicken escalope
- Grilled salmon
- The burger
- Linguine carbonara
- Spaghetti with fresh tomatoes
- Carpaccio: Thinly sliced meat served on a rectangular plate top red with rocket leaves and decorated with Parmesan and sliced pain de mie. A good quality meat with some capers and shredded cheese, a hint of truffle oil and the shining leaves. A lovely plate that's so simple, opening up for the rest to come.
- Salmon tartare: Very good! Cubes of salmon made in a cylindrical tower made of three colors. Salmon on top, guacamole and a palmito cream. It's really delicious; I loved the texture and the mix of ingredients, the fresh vegetables mashed to perfect smoothness and the quality of the salmon, that's simply one of the best in town. Fresh greens on the side, and you have a satisfying plate.
- The burger: I'll tell you the story as it is. The burger looks bizarre, a bright colored bread, cut in half, the meat is too condensed and has a bizarre color, but wait until you've tried it. A sweet taste, a juicy meat, a fresh fluffy bun, generously filled with melted cheddar and the fresh vegetables. The meat when eaten alone is still special. Extremely juicy and tasty meat and of a good quality. The grilled tomato adds something special to the burger.
- The carbonara: It was even better than many Italian restaurants in town. A real al dente carbonara with Parmesan and bacon. The cream leaves a rich, full bodied aftertaste obliging you to lick your lips instinctively. I loved the flavors, adored the bacon, the pasta quality and size... Bravo chef.
- Steak frites: A good quantity of meat, flavorful sauce and the crunchy fries topped it off. What's impressive is the quality of ingredients used at Lina's for the price paid. Value for money is a 10/10. I'd surely have lunch here, every day of the week.
- Today I discovered a kind of cake I would call the WTF. WTF because it's a molten cake that's simply cold. Yes ice molten cake, moist and tender with an intense chocolate flavor, no added sugar and love, lots of it. The plate is cold, and the cake as well, leaving you a bit intrigued... Take a piece and lay it on your tongue... Wait, breathe, relax and enjoy while your senses awake. That's a piece of marvel! WTF it is and surely a must try soon.
- The pain perdu: A round brioche soaked in milk, loaded with milk that felt unpleasant and lacked texture. Use less milk, caramelize it more and there you go.
Trying the hot plates at Lina's was a positive shock. Lina's has changed and evolved into an up scaled dining experience with more than simply sandwiches. Pasta, meat and salads with mouthwatering desserts are all on the menu. Give them a try.