07 Apr Arabesque – The world of The Thousand and One Nights
Not every day we have the opportunity to step back in time…. to step back thousands of years to the magical world of the thousand and one nights…
I am very gourmand as the French says… meaning that when it comes to food… I cannot resist the temptation… so, the invitation to the Arabesque restaurant at the Hotel President Wilson was a wonderful opportunity to delight myself with the best of the Lebanese cuisine…
The Hotel does not need to be introduced… as it is a landmark in Geneva. A magnificent building facing the lake… A super place to enjoy the best of the Swiss hospitality.
The restaurant Arabesque is one of the restaurants of the hotel, mastered by the Lebanese chef Joseph Moubayed along side with the hotel head chef Michel Roth.
Speaking of stepping back… when you enter the restaurant, you are transported to another dimension… a dimension of light, beauty and arabesque…
As you may know, arabesque is a form of artistic decoration, very used and important in the Islamic Art. So, respecting the source of the name… the whole restaurant is composed of arabesque decoration creating the perfect setting for what is to come….
I mean, the banquet! Some cultures are known for the generosity of their portions… The Lebanese cuisine is one of those… my experience on it, since university times, eating at Samira’s house (albeit distant, a great friend)… is that you must prepare for the meal… it is ritual… almost sacred….
So, going back to the Arabesque restaurant… it was not different from what I had experienced. The service was impeccable, the food delicious and the portions were more generous that I could potentially take…
We started with an assortment of Mezzes (tapas)….
- Moutabbal (Eggplant puree);
- Hommos Bayrouti (Chickpea Puree);
- Chankliche (Ewe Milk cheese);
- Labne (Curd cow milk cheese);
- Arayess (Pita Bread stuffed with minced Lamb);
- Rekakat bel Jeben (Feta and haloumi cheese cigars)
- Samboissik bel Lahem (Meet risolees)
- Kebbe E’rass (Meet balls)
- Falafel (Fava Beens croquettes)
- Fattouche (Raw Vegetables Salad)
Then, I saw it coming….. believe it or not… a grilled Octopus…. OMG …. Is there a word to describe something that is more than delicious???… Supreme, maybe??… The texture of it… melted in my mouth… talking about mouth… it is now full of water in memory of this delicacy!
Do you think it was finished??? of course… NOT!!!!
We were served the main course… yes, none of the above was yet the main course…
Kebbe Labanieh (Meet ball immersed in yogurt sauce)…. Very delicious too but I had already elected my favorite of the day… the Grilled Octopus!
Of course I could not leave without trying the Lebanese Sweets… The chef was kind to prepare mini portions so that I could try the all of them…
You know… I thought I could not eat it, but surprise surprise, I ate it all….
- Osmallieh (Angel hair with achta cream)
- Aiche de Sarail traditionnel (caramelised bred with almonds, cream and dry fruits)
- Katayef Kachta (Lebanese crepe)
- Le Pistachier de Joseph (Specialty of the chef made of Pistachio)
Nirvana…. pure Nirvana…
You should not take my word as truth but you should try it yourself… I am sure they will be as welcoming to you as they were to me…I am definitely coming back!
XX Valentinaeph (Especialidade do chefe feito de Pistache)
Nirvana… Puro Nirvana…
Vocês não devem só acreditar em mim, mas como vivenciar essa experiência gastronomica. Tenho certeza que serão recepcionados como eu fui… Eu voltarei com certeza!