The day was nice and sunny so we had the chance to admire the square in its full beauty while walking through it.
We headed then toward the Jewish quarter; at least we though so. It is sufficient to say that we barely passed by the extreme border of it before getting deeper into a more popular region of the city. The walk was not deprived of beauties, the buildings are everywhere fascinating to admire.
When we realised that we were not where we wished to be, we decided to go back down-town and walk toward Republic Square with its big shopping mall (where we spent the rest of the day).
The construction is quite impressive with a huge variety of shops and a very interesting food quarter. After a fast stroll (looking for the toilets), we were quite hungry. I decided to let my family try Lebanese delicacies so we opted for the El Emir.
Naturally we went for the big Mezze feast. Yeah! Here you have what we got:
- Hummus: Cooked chickpeas purée with sesame sauce and lemon juice;
- Moutabal: Baked eggplant purée with sesame sauce and lemon juice;
- Kabis: A selection of Lebanese pickles;
- Tabouleh: Salad of parsley, tomatoes, onions, fresh mint, crushed wheat, lemon juice and olive oil;
- Warak Inab: Stuffed vine leaves with rice, vegetables, and olive oil;
- Labneh: Lebanese cream cheese;
- Sanbousek Lahme: Fried pastry filled with minced lamb’s meat, onions and pine nuts;
- Sanbousek Jibneh: Fried pastry filled with halloumi cheese and fresh mint;
- Arayess: Grilled Lebanese bread with minced lamb meat, onion and parsley;
- Falafel: Fried chickpeas, broad beans, ground and mixed with Lebanese spices;
- Kibbey Makli: Fried meatballs of ground lamb’s meat mixed with crushed wheat and stuffed with minced lamb’s meat, onions and pine kernels;
- Sojok: Roasted Lebanese spicy lamb sausages with fresh tomato sauce;
- Batata Harra: Spicy potatoes with herbs, vegetables, garlic, onion and fresh coriander;
- Sawda Dajaj: Roasted chicken liver with lemon and garlic.
The service was good and friendly (despite the whispered English of the waiter, I thought I had become deaf).
After such a Lucullan meal we were just ready for a nap so after a short stroll we chose another bar where to pretend to sip our coffee and actually we took a nap.
It was time for some shopping now, mostly mommy and sis spent time in clothes shops while I was unsuccessfully wondering around for a chair to sit down and sip another coffee.
When everyone was ready, we had another stroll across the mall and checked its bookshop. It was quite surprising to find within it the remnants of a Roman villa found during the diggings and preserved in a user friendly way with thick slabs of glass and a nice reconstructed map.
Finished our shopping, we headed toward our hotel where we finally managed to nap a bit before dinner.
During our walk we spotted the magnificent Municipal House, one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau palaces of the city with gorgeous iron works and a superb mosaic.
Francouzska Restaurant (I wanted to try it but… wait the next post for more news) and a traditional Czeck restaurant in the cellar, the Pilsen Restaurant. Beside this modern building, as a striking contrast of styles and colors, stays the Powder Tower staggering with its darkened Gothic stonework.
Following their website:
“A mysterious traveller, Tom Maltom, dreamed of running a successful restaurant business. He was travelling all over the world, and had a chance to taste various dishes prepared at the furthest corners of our planet. It did not take long for Tom’s passion for travelling and cooking to lead to creation of his original cuisine, a hit with everyone who had ever tried it. By 1995, Tom had converted his ideas into a SPHINX restaurant concept.”
The atmosphere was quite nice and cosy in effect, we were all in a weird mood so it took us some time to choose the meal while the sorta pushy waiter was checking on us every now and then. I had a mix of specialties; that is a pork shoarma, kebab, chicken shashlik, served with a traditional salad, French fries and rice. The meat was quite ok but the fries were soggy and disappointing, the rice was gummy (instant rice?).
As dessert, I chose their chocolate cake with cherries. It was quite disappointing unfortunately: there was too much “cream” in the cake to be called a chocolate cake and not real cream on the side (usual vegetable one).