Lebanese Rhapsody (Waleed Howrani)

There’s a new kid on the block along Arab Street. We decided to give Gulf Beach Restaurant & Cafe a try last night instead of our usual haunt, Cafe Le Caire. As expected given a new eatery, there was hardly anybody inside the restaurant when we arrived and some of the staff were outside trying to coax the passers-by to walk in. I guess the male staff who I approached upon us coming out from the car right in front of the place, was taken by surprise when I immediately asked for a table for 7.

The decor is quite decent and the place waited by attentive staff. We didn’t adjourn to the second storey as we were told there aren’t any tables or chairs, merely floor seating areas; a typical set-up for such eateries. The waiter who attended to us gave a good service, although the fake-accent he had was rather off-putting. He sure looks Malay lest he thinks he’s Woody Allen, judging from the hairdo.

We ordered a variety of food but were left quite disappointed. I definitely feel that my order of mixed BBQ platter wasn’t up to notch. Most of the meat seemed tough and tasted dry and bland, so much so that they made Amirah’s Grill look good. I don’t know. Maybe Lebanese food is supposed to taste like that. Perhaps the reason food in places like Cafe Le Caire taste better because they are fine-tuned to suit the local palate. The taste is similar to that of Sofra’s, one place that I vowed never to return albeit their nice decor. A request for curry or any kind of gravy was politely turned down by Mr Slang. Made me recall that scene in a Malay movie whereby the woman asked for chilli sauce in a supposedly high-class restaurant, only to have the chef storm out from the kitchen in anger.

The chef at Gulf Beach Restaurant & Cafe did come to our table actually. But to pass the right order as his assistant had given a wrong one. “On the house!” he said referring to the half-eaten botched order. That and together with a basket of potato wedges and some couscous desserts he later brought to our table. Maybe he felt grateful to us since more customers came in when they saw our group inside the place. He also mentioned that the current menu is due for expansion soon with more new dishes. Nice guy and I reckon we held back in saying how we really felt about the food due to the staff and his friendliness.

I can’t say whether we’ll return to the place. We’ll see when they’ve revised their menu.

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~ by blackcadillac73 on April 4, 2009.

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