This won't be a full review as I had already eaten dinner somewhere else but I ended up here a few days ago both curious and cautious. I only tried a few dishes and had a couple of drinks.
Contrary to at least one write-up the decor and vibe are not Middle Eastern in any way.
Service was good. Very attentive, however, not properly trained in pronouncing their own dishes properly.
Duck Kibbeh - Filling very dry. All the same consistency which I would call mushy. Crust was passable. Dish had a cloying sweetness that I don't understand.
Shakshouka - Tomatoes tasted canned. No depth of flavour or spicing of any kind. Not served with any bread. Someone saw that we didn't have any and offered to bring us some immediately. Bread was covered in oil and seasoned with dukkah. Not the right bread to serve with shakshouka. Seasoning overpowered any flavour one might get from the dish.
Turkish Manti Dumplings - eggplant filling had no flavour whatsoever. Sweetness from molasses was too much. Not sure why this dish even has a hint of sweetness but if it's going to have it I would prefer the yogurt to be somewhat tangy so the flavours could play off each other. Not sure of the type of yogurt used but definitely not a Middle Eastern or eastern Mediterranean style.
North Wind cocktail - all I could taste was the mastiha liquor. What is the point of adding fernet branca and chartreuse?
After perusing the wine list it's abundantly clear they didn't put much effort into procuring wines from the Middle East/eastern Mediterranean. A few Greek and Lebanese wines. Maybe one Israeli and no Turkish offerings.
I wanted some arak/ouzo/raki to finish off my meal. They offer the Arak Ritual on the cocktail menu but it is served with raw sugar which I had no interest in. I inquired as to what type of arak's they had and I was presented with a bottle of Gantous & Abou Raad and asked to have it in a glass straight up. I think that was the only thing served to me that I was not disappointed by as I know it quite well.
Unfortunately, I was charged the full cocktail price of the Arak Ritual for the one shot of arak I had.
Where are the ouzo's from Greece, the raki's from Turkey and the arak's from Lebanon/Israel?
I won't even start a discussion about authenticity.
What can I say, I didn't really expect much from Charles Khabouth and it seems that opinion has been reaffirmed.
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