Rue Du Liban’s Instagrammable interiors are matched by a deliciously authentic Lebanese menu by experienced Egyptian chef Maged Makram

The upside-down hanging-garden ceiling is the showstopper at atmospheric Rue Du Liban, a cosy new contemporary Lebanese (and halal) bar and eatery founded by restaurateur Imran Khaleel (a Swiss-trained chef in another life) and Executive Chef Maged Makram, hailing from Egypt, who boasts more than four decades of experience working for luxury hotel groups across Egypt and South Africa. 

Details matter to the founders and to us as diners. Even the bronze tableware, with the metal thought to aid in digestion, is specially handmade in Odisha, India, for the restaurant. The ornate gold-rimmed teapots and intricately patterned pendant light fixtures are transportive reminders of the Levant.

At Rue Du Liban, a new Lebanese restaurant in Jordan, the authentic mezze and grills are as noteworthy as the eatery’s warm service and buzzy vibe

What we love most about Lebanese cuisine is its subtlety; there’s no heavy use of butter, cream, or sauces to add flavour and richness. Instead, it relies on the abundance of fresh herbs like mint and parsley and spices like za’atar and sumac to enliven the palate. Lebanese cuisine is also all about sharing, especially when it comes to their beloved hot and cold mezze, the Middle Eastern equivalent of tapas.

The classic moutabal (HKD94) – the bestselling mezze at Rue, according to our unflappable server – eased us into our meal. Moutabal is cousin to another popular Middle Eastern dip made with smoked aubergine, this time with the addition of tahini, which imparts a nuttier flavour profile. This moutabal, on the sweeter side, is served with both pita bread and tortilla chips for dipping (we’d suggest ditching the chips, which seem incongruous).

If the moutabal comforts the palate, the fattoush (HKD128) awakens it. This classic Lebanese chopped salad features an assortment of fresh herbs and veg – coriander, mint, lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, red onion – given textural contrast with fried pita strips. The tangy dressy is a standard garlic, oil, vinegar, and lemon number, but it’s the sprinkling of sumac that amps the pucker factor and leaves the diner wanting more.

At Rue Du Liban, a new Lebanese restaurant in Jordan, the authentic mezze and grills are as noteworthy as the eatery’s warm service and buzzy vibe

The grilled octopus (HKD198), though not traditional, is a hot mezze highlight at Rue Du Liban. The Spanish octopus offers a pleasantly chewy, smoky bite, complemented by the earthiness of chickpeas.

At Rue Du Liban, a new Lebanese restaurant in Jordan, the authentic mezze and grills are as noteworthy as the eatery’s warm service and buzzy vibe

Instead of going for a grilled main, we opted for the chicken fatteh (HKD168) for something a bit different. Similar to risotto, this dish is made up of creamy rice studded with shredded spiced chicken, toasted pine nuts, fried pita chips, and that addictive garlic-infused yoghurt sauce known as toum (a little goes a long way). The idea is to thoroughly mix the whole lot so that the sauce coats every last grain of rice. Sharing is definitely caring with this Lebanese comfort-food dish.

At Rue Du Liban, a new Lebanese restaurant in Jordan, the authentic mezze and grills are as noteworthy as the eatery’s warm service and buzzy vibe

The mixed grill (HKD568) with lamb, chicken, and beef is a more traditional main contender. The mouth-watering meaty, chargrilled aromas wafting over from the table next door nearly gave us order envy.

At Rue Du Liban, a new Lebanese restaurant in Jordan, the authentic mezze and grills are as noteworthy as the eatery’s warm service and buzzy vibe

Sure, you can order rice pudding and kunefe (a sugar-soaked, cheese- and nut-layered spun pastry), but it’s the more innovative Lebanese French toast (HKD98) that gets our vote. A riff on HK-style French toast, this dessert is made with brioche layered with date paste instead of peanut butter and whipped cream replacing the condensed milk. Dates can often be excessively saccharine for our Asian-accustomed palate, but in this plate, they provide a rich, honey-like sweetness that balances the buttery brioche.

Our verdict of Rue Du Liban

Rue Du Liban was buzzing on our Monday-evening tasting, filled mostly with groups of local diners who seemed chuffed to be trying a cuisine that’s quite rare in that neck of the woods. The staff are warm and passionate about the authentic Lebanese dishes served up, offering service from the heart. With generous portions and wallet-friendly prices, Rue Du Liban is a welcome addition to the ‘hood.

We’ll be back to try the weekday “get-it-all” set lunch (from HKD108 pp), which comes with plenty of vegetarian options. It includes a choice of main, plus a selection of mezze, Lebanese rice, pita, dessert, and a drink. 

Rue Du Liban, 22–26 Hillwood Road, Jordan, 2310 2922, book here

Order this: grilled octopus, grilled halloumi, mixed grill, chicken fatteh, Lebanese French toast
Menu: Rue Du Liban à-la-carte menu
Price for two: HKD600–800
Atmosphere: a bustling and youthful vibe in a space decked out with contemporary Middle Eastern flair, with warm and knowledgeable service
Perfect for: diners craving the authentic heady flavours of Lebanon at a reasonable price point

This review is intended to offer an individual perspective on the dining experience and should not be considered as a definitive judgement of the restaurant’s overall quality or reputation. The views expressed in this review are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions of Foodie.

Stephanie Pliakas is the Digital Editor of Foodie. From Michelin-starred fine-dining to the local comfort-food eats dished out at cha chaan tengs, she has immersed herself in the 852’s ever-changing food scene since making Hong Kong her home more than a decade ago. When Stephanie is not devouring something delicious, she’s cooking and baking up a storm at home (whilst listening to true crime podcasts).

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