Monday, January 31, 2011

Café Beirut

A couple Saturdays ago Charles and I decided to check out a spot close to home that's been on the list for some time - Café Beirut.

I've lost count of the number of times we've walked past this place since it opened last summer, regularly peering in the front window to check things out. Finally stepping through the door around 7:30 that Saturday evening, we found a fairly empty space, save a table of two in the corner, and were greeted by the owner immediately. Running over the selection posted above the 'prep area' at the front, we eventually decided on the mezza - 8 items for two people (~$38).

 A Raspberry Laziza

The space is fairly small, with about half a dozen metal rounds placed throughout. We were asked to select a spot set up with two tables, and we saw why once all the food came out. After a slight wait we were brought a table full of food - there had to be enough for three or four people there. Nevertheless we dug in.

Without a doubt the hit of the table was the Shawarma Chicken - served between two crispy pita shells, the chicken was delicately spiced, flavourful and moist, and like a few other dishes on the table were topped with bright purple pickled turnip (I could have eaten a bowl of those pickles alone). Charles ate his way through most of the Fatoush (romaine salad with Summak spice, olive oil, lemon and crisp pita) while I happily kept the dish of Musakaat (eggplant, chickpeas and onions sautéed with garlic and spices) to myself. Though it was served cold, it reminded me of the Briam I'd always order at Cosmos in Sherwood Park during evenings out with my parents. I would certainly head back for this dish alone. While Charles isn't a big fan of humus or baba ganouge, I found both well spiced and incredibly creamy - perfect with pita and a couple other items on the table.


At the end of our meal (we ended up taking home a sizable container of leftovers) we also managed to grab a piece of fresh, still warm Baklava. Dripping with honey and full of warm walnuts, you just can't beat a dessert like that.

Though we decided Café Beirut was set up more for takeout than anything else, the owner was incredibly friendly and there were dishes in our mezza lineup that we'll certainly be heading back for, whether it's eat in or take out.

Café Beirut
10812 Whyte Ave.
Hours: M-Sa (11am - 10pm); Su (noon - 6pm)
Cafe Beirut on Urbanspoon

We walked to Ice on Whyte afterwords and bumped into Monkey themed snow sculptures. I didn't take much from my Anthro of Religion class last year, but I was able to recognize Monkey with his iron, Piggy and Sandy carved in snow. Excellent.

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