Sometimes the best food comes in the most surprising places.
And last weekend brought me such a surprise – you see my crew talked me into going to Cessnock for food…granted not my usual stomping ground but you better believe I am always on the hunt for the tastiest food in the city.
So I found myself on Friday night at 7.30pm sitting in Beirut Star, with my buddies laughingly mocking me saying – ‘GFG going where no other food blogger will go!’ Which always makes me roll my eyes and chuckle.
Located on Paisley Road West, Beirut Star is kind of a cross between a very nice kebab style shop and a wee cafe. The kitchen is completely open and there are maybe 10-15 tables in the eating in area. It’s a wee bit kitch with huge photographs of Beirut on the walls, and boxes of kleenex hankies on the tables. It’s not really stylish or modern, but it is absolutely fine and perfectly comfortable for a casual dinner.
Staff wise we were welcomed very warmly. Although I wouldn’t say that the staff were especially chatty, but they were attentive and happy to advise us on food selection and portion size when asked. Absolutely no issues at all with the service.
So let talk about the food….as always we decided to share our food family style so we got to try out lots of different things. I should warn you at this point that the theme for the evening became ‘Oh Baby!’ After my buddy Rocco ( Of RoccosQuickBites instafame) said ‘Oh Baby!’ after his first mouthful. As you can imagine we teased him mercilessly about this, but it did set the tone for the evening and became a bit of a theme – you better believe we were saying it often and with some real gusto as we delved into some pretty delicious and authentic lebanese dishes.
We decided to kicked things off by sharing a whole host of starter dishes including – warm pitas with creamy hummus and a smoky Mutabbal dip which were delicious, and I suspect made freshly in house. We also ordered a colourful zesty Fattoush, which is basically a little mixed salad, tossed in a light tangy olive oil and vinegar dressing, and topped with crunchy toasted bread and pomegranate.
My favourite thing of the night tho was the Lamb Sambusak, which is fried pastry filled with a fragrant juicy lamb mince, onions and nuts. OH BABY! Honestly they were spectacular. The filling was generous and was spiced to perfection, and frankly I could have eaten just these the whole night and been super happy.
Similarly, the Borak were also pretty special. These are also a fried lebanese pastry but this version is filled with halloumi cheese, onion and parsley. They were bloody brilliant little golden parcels of melty cheesey deliciousness. My only disappointment with this dish is that we only ordered one portion so I just got to have one, when I could have demolished the whole plate myself easily.
With things off to such a great start we were super excited for our mains to arrive.
We ordered two large dishes to share – the Beirut Star Mixed Grill for 2 and the Kharoof Mahshi.
The Mixed Grill was described as kafta skewers, tender lamb cubes, chicken wings, tawouk skewer, mixed shawarma and chips. Right first things first, this came served as a big platter of food so I amn’t 100% certain that I got to try everything in the mixed grill. What I can tell you tho was I tucked into quite a bit of the mixed lamb and chicken shawarma, which was super tasty and nicely seasoned, the lamb especially I enjoyed. I did try some other bits and pieces, but I would be lying if I tried to give anymore of a comment than I enjoyed everything I did try. On the down side I do think £30 for this dish was a wee bit on the steep side when most of the dish was compiled of shawarma and heaps of raw red onion. So as much as I thought this was a nice dish next time I would probably order something else.
The Kharoof Mahshi, which was a large serving of stuffed lamb with rice and special herbs was fantastic. The lamb was nicely tender and a generous serving, and the rice and peas had a delicate but delicious meaty taste. I really enjoyed the rich aromatic flavour of the dish and would be more than happy to order again.
Because we split this between the 2 huge dishes between the 5 of us we still had just a little room left in the pudding belly, so Rocco and I decided to share the baklava just to get a little sweet hit to finish the meal. We were served up 6 small bite sized pieces of wonderfully crunchy, slightly greasy, nutty baklava which were utterly fantastic. I am not sure if they were made in house or not…and honestly I could not care less, because they were great. And actually the 3 pieces each was the perfectly sized sweet treat to end another awesome family feast with my buds.
Price wise we were £100.25 – this was for 5 three course meals, so it was pretty great value for money. Especially because we all left absolutely stuffed, so much so that I couldn’t eat brekkie the next day until 11am. I do still think the mixed grill for what it was was expensive, but other than that we couldn’t really fault the quality of the food or the price.
If I am being honest I didn’t really expect much from my first trip to Beirut Star, and only really went to hang out with my crew, but I could not be more thrilled to be wrong! The food was great, and I am lead to believe pretty authentic lebanese cuisine. And despite my having reservations from the outside as we walked in, it was incredibly welcoming…….Which just goes to prove you should never judge a book (or restaurant) by it’s cover – I will certainly be back for sure.