Beirut is legendary for its night life, restaurants, and the joie de vivre of its Lebanese inhabitants, no matter what times have come upon the city. "We don't delve too much into things or plan too far ahead, we simply try to live our life to the fullest," is something that one will often hear the locals saying, almost as if it was a mantra. Today the city is experiencing yet another revival after a tumultuous past, but taking into account the situation in the region, nobody knows how long the current good times will last.
Perhaps that is why new restaurants are popping up in Beirut like mushrooms after the rain and why everything that is new immediately becomes trendy. Currently the most talked-about venue in the city is the recently opened Felix wine lounge. Hidden in a small, side alley between two other restaurants - Piazza and Bound, it is not that easy to find. The sign on the outer door is almost unnoticeable and the door itself is also quite ordinary.
As you cross the threshold, you are greeted by a smiling, slender and very beautiful Lebanese hostess. The Felix's atmosphere imparts a slightly hedonistic, 21st-century Oriental glamour spiced up by the decor in the style of Philippe Starck and pieces of contemporary art adorning the walls. The skilfully placed lighting makes everybody who enters the establishment look marvellous, as if they had dressed up for the occasion in their Sunday best.
No white tablecloths; you get a choice between a long marble table in the centre of the space or either of the two bars. It's better at the bars; the bartenders here are true artists, as sincere as anyone in Beirut; do you really need a menu? "What menu? We have a chef!" The chef is Lebanese, as you might expect; having perfected his art in Switzerland, he worked in London and only recently returned home, wanting a place of his own. Like many another he will admit that he doesn't follow the news as much as he did when in Britain; life is far easier if you don't.
Whatever you might choose from the menu, it is bound to be an unforgettable culinary experience. Definitely try out the Tempura Tuna Shashimi served with a hot mustard champagne sauce. That dish alone is a good enough reason for returning to Felix again and again.
Sodeco, Damascus Road
Posted 04/2010Share it:
Keywords: restaurant, Beirut