This is the story of a cow, a cow that decided to establish itself in Beirut, as a way of getting closer to the human race. Mrs. Orfali came from the farm straight to the consumer, integrating with our beautiful world to answer our demanding needs.
A success story that started in Sodeco has now expended to Jal El Dib, to a new shop, a bigger one with a different approach to meat platters and sandwiches. Orfali has now opened his state of the art cafe.
Located on the Jal El Dib inner highway, Orfali has taken for its location a shop on the corner of the street facing Lina's sandwiches. Old Lebanese tiles, green and orange-beige sofas, stone walls, a rich greenery covers the walls, alongside with notes of color, the place is guaranteed to amaze you. Orfali is indeed a street cafe crafted the old-fashioned way and sure to make us all a little nostalgic.
While some fine, soothing Arabic notes play in the background, I took the time to appreciate and enjoy the decor; I loved the cow enjoying its time on the grass covering the ceiling, the orange, green and beige sofas, the old stone wall, the TV screen adding life to the space filled with wooden tables.
The best parts are the walls. Mrs. Orfali felt the need to expressing herself with a dozen of self portraits and selfies which cover the walls. Joined by her family, the black and whit e pictures will put a smile on your face.
We chose to sit inside despite the fact that the exterior’s beautiful terrace and lit tree are great for those last days of summer. It's as if Orfali managed to reproduce the feel of a village in Beirut... Now it's close to home.
We were welcomed with drinks, jellab for myself and rosewater for my wife, small shots to open up our appetite. And now, let the ritual begin.
You can't come to Orfali without having the Laban Ayran. It's like going to McDonald's and not ordering a burger. Thick, lemony laban mixed with shredded cucumber and served with a straw. It's a signature that everyone should try.
The menu is new, the platters are new, the portions are different… the improvements since my last visit are obvious and I like them.
Now let's have dinner:
- Techkilet Kebbeh (6 pieces): I’ve already published a detailed video and review on the Kebbeh. This plate is a selection of six different kebbeh choices depending on availability. Borma. A plate I recommend.
- The Country Salad: When you say country, you expect tabbouleh or fattouch. This salad is different, filled with lentils, radish, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and some fried rolls, and reminds you of fattouch in a funky way. With that said, the last aftertaste is a sweet touch that’s enjoyable. A lovely salad to start a meal.
- Kabab Orfali: Fingers of kabab topped with tomato juice and served with potato wedges and pickles on the side. Four thick fingers of premium meat, that are tender and juicy.
- Cheese kabab served with potato wedges, olive and labneh sauce, avocado sauce and mushrooms. Imagine cheese chunks inside thick fingers of meat adding an interesting texture and that, most importantly, look beautiful.
- Hummus with cashew nuts... My favorite of all. Love the textures, the richness, the favor and the crunch
We enjoyed dinner and decided to complete the experience by trying their desserts... And I'm glad we did. The desserts are new, creative and awesome...
- The Yummy Jar: The Yummy Jar is a jar that, as the name states, is filled with a couple layers, one on top of the other. The journey starts with a banana cream followed by a thick portion of a crumble made of Digestive biscuits mixed with semsmiyeh, which covers the chocolate mousse. Interesting textures of cream and crunch mixed together, creating an innovation I recommend.
- Sanaa: Sanaa created a recipe which deserved to be offered to the world. Sanaa revisited the Knefe we know into a mouthwatering innovation that will take your breath away. Served in a clay bowl, the knefeh is a load of cheese with a tiny little saltiness and topped with a crunchy layer freshened up with sugar syrup. New and unique, this knefeh is a must try. It needs 15 minutes to prepare, ask for it as soon as you arrive to have it delivered on time.
Now Jal El Dib has a new hotspot, where one can enjoy good food and a pleasant ambiance in a cozy atmosphere pumping with oriental life. Fed up of those huge cafes full of smoke? Orfali’s funky style will reconcile you with casual Lebanese restaurants once again.