Grand Mercure Bangalore is a luxury hotel tucked away in the residential area of Koramangala in Bangalore. I was surprised to know this hotel has been there for more than 3 years now. When I heard of Lebanese Food Festival at the 12th Main restaurant at Grand Mercure Bangalore, I decided to check it out. When I usually read about Lebanese food, all I think of is hummus and Babaganoush. But it was wonderful to know that there was a lot more to cuisine as I could see when I went for the buffet there. The entire restaurant was decorated in Arabian and Lebanese style. The beauty of the place was charming and inviting people to take part in the gastronomical journey of Lebanon there.
As many of you know, Lebanon is an exotic country located on the Eastern Coast of the Mediterranean. Like India, the culture of Lebanon is infused with cultures from various empires. From the Ottoman Empire to the French Empire, the taste of Lebanon has been widely influenced. From the Ottoman Empire, the Lebanese menu changed to include olive oil, fresh bread and Baklava, a famous dessert. From the French empire, they included many of their famous patisseries. And of course how could one forget the evergreen and the most popular Shawarma! It is from Lebanon too and was on the live grill so that we could enjoy it’s taste! Executive Chef David and his team were on hand to ensure that we had a wonderful experience of tasting the best Lebanese food this side of the Mediterranean!
In starters for vegetarians, there was Arnabit Makhali( Fried Cauliflower) and Mucver (Zucchini fritters). For non-vegetarians, there was Lamb Kibbeh (Mutton Kebabs) and Sheesh Touk (Tender chicken pieces with tri peppers marinated in Lebanese spices). Personally I loved the Lamb Kibbeh and Chicken Shawerma which was from the live counters. The highlight of main course for me was the Batenjen ablama which is stuffed eggplant with minced lamb meat. Executive Chef David explained to me that this recipe is very rarely seen in Lebanese restaurants but is one of the most sought after recipes in the homes of Lebanon! I must say it tasted brilliantly well.
In main course for vegetarians, there was Batata hara (spicy potatoes), Bamia bil zayt (Okra stew with tomatoes and garlic ) and Makhloota (Lebanese stew of mixed beans ). The tastes may be a little bland for Indian liking but David explained that they use a lot of lemon in their cooking and have a mix of almost 15 different spices in most of their cooking. These spices are different from Indian spices as the focus is not on burning your tongue but bringing unique flavors out! The closest to Indian taste buds was the Samak hara which is Lebanese Chili Fish. I enjoyed this quite a bit too and took second helpings of the same!
There were lots of salads like Fattoush (Fattoush is a Levantine bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables), Tabbouleh Salad (Chopped Parsley, Tomatoes and Burgul Wheat and herb salad), Hummus(Chickpeas, garlic, tahini and olive oil), Babaganoush(Cooked eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings ) but one unique salad was the Mohamarrah which is made of red pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip as you can see in the picture below.
The Lebanese people have also thought of a way to eat without the use of cutlery. Their staple diet includes their famous flat bread which can be stuffed with a variety of side dishes and enjoyed. Just like Indian Cuisine which is best enjoyed by eating with hands, The Lebanese food can similarly be enjoyed. So we enjoyed the pita bread with a variety of salads amidst wonderful ambiance. We ended the fabulous meal with desserts like Baklava ( Phyllo dough stacked with honey and nuts), Maamoul bil joze(Semolina tart filled with walnuts), Riz bil haleeb(Lebanese rice pudding) and Knafi ( Sweet Cheese Pastry). Presence of rose water in each of the desserts is the highlight of Lebanese desserts. They provided a perfect ending to a Mediterranean gastronomical cruise!
Do you want more details about the Lebanese Food Festival at Grand Mercure Bangalore? Here you go:
Price : Rs.999 + Taxes
Beverage : Traditional Lebanese liqueur Arak and wine
Timing : 7.00 â€“ 11.00 pm
Date : August 1st to August 10th
Grand Mercure Bangalore, 12th Main, 3rd Block, Koramangala, Bangalore- 560034
Contact for reservations-91-80-4512 1212