The festive season is upon us, and that means it’s time to get out your stretchy pants and start feasting. Ushering in the festive season with a uniquely Lebanese flair is the ever-stylish and popular Maison Libanaise.
Chef Jad Youssef, who hails from Beirut, has designed a nostalgic menu that pays homage to his childhood Christmases. The dish that Chef Youssef holds closest to his heart is the lamb à l’oriental, which is inspired by his mother’s recipe that was passed down to her over many generations – but only orally, never written down.
The five-course Feast de Noël menu ($498/person; 2-person minimum) is available from 16 November– 26 December 2019. Tables of four or more will get a free bottle of house wine.
Here’s what to expect at this family-style feast:
Ah, hummus – my favourite thing in the whole wide food world. This special hummus habash comes with a Christmas twist of marinated roast turkey along with pine nuts and pomegranate. The turkey was beautifully cooked and not at all dry, which it so often tends to be. Served with warm pitta bread, it was hard not to fill up on the first starter!
The barley salad was light and fresh, with little pops of sweetness thanks to the pomegranate and sultanas. The grilled halloumi added a savoury, creamy touch.
The third and final starter is kibbeh habash, which is deep-fried turkey and bulgur meatballs. While the outside of the kibbeh was slightly dry, the inside was moist, sweet and very flavourful thanks to the onion confit, dates and walnuts. The filling actually tasted like Christmas, with the addition of allspice providing hints of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
On to the main course… the lamb à l’oriental fell right off the bone and was incredibly tender. The lamb is served on a bed of spiced basmati rice along with a pumpkin chutney, chickpeas, prunes and roasted sesame seeds. This dish was incredibly comforting and felt like an authentic home-cooked meal.
Dessert is a very fragrant mouhalabieh – a Lebanese milk pudding made with honey, orange blossom, pistachio and cinnamon. This was a light, refreshing and aesthetically pleasing way to end the meal.
Maison Libanaise’s Feast de Noël menu has everything you need for a comforting Christmas meal along with a few uniquely Lebanese flavours and additions. Served sharing style, this feast is best enjoyed with family and friends. While filling, it is not a huge amount of food and won’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full like so many other festive meals.
10 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central, 2111 2284
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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