Paseo Alameda, 48
The best hummus I’ve had in Spain. Nay, the only good hummus I’ve had in Spain. And in Germany for that matter. Never did find any good hummus there either.
Beirut is far from a vegetarian restaurant, but it does sell some practical veggie stalwarts such as hummus and falafel. In fact you could very easily feast your veg self into oblivion here.
It’s near the centre of town – a very stark, white, red and black space with black and white photos of Lebanese landmarks and a TV playing Lebanese pop music – loud enough kill you. If that makes it sound like a downmarket kebab shop, well it’s not. It’s a proper restaurant. Both the staff and space are immaculate – the waiter was a lovely smiley young chap and the service was quick. It helped that I was the only one in there at 8pm – very early for Spanish dinner. It would be equivalent of us eating breakfast at 3am.
Downside – the music was a little intrusive and the light a little garish. The dishes are quite expensive. Almost €7 for a fairly small dish of hummus is a bit steepio. However, it was good stuff. Creamy, piquant and served with chopped tomato, onion and dowsed in enough olive oil to start a small fire.
The bread is extra – but only costs €1. It’s thin leathery bread – like chewing a jiffy bag – but in a good way.
Other vegetarian dishes:
Fatuch – salad made with cucumber, radish, pepper, onion, tomato, cabbage and fried bread. €6.60
Tabuly – traditional Lebanese salad made from bulgar wheat, fresh lemon, tomato, parsley and onion. €6.60.
Jiar Baban – Yogurt with cucumber, garlic and herbs. €6.90.
Rocca – rocket, cubed tomatoes, onions and a pomegranate sauce. €6.90.
Fresh Beirut – tomato cubes, cucumber, lettuce mint, garlic, and lemon. €5.60.
Hummus – the usual chickpea, garlic, olive oil, tahini and lemon concoction every vegetarian will be familiar with. €6.60.
Hummus Beiruty (this is what I had) – As above with extra veg and chilli. €6.90
Emtabal – eggplant pate with tahini, garlic and lemon. €7.10.
Fatayer Yubne – Pastry parcels filled with creamy cheese. €7.00.
Fatayer Sabaneg – Pastry rolls full of spinach and onions. €6.50.
Falafel – another vegetarian fall-back dish – served with a pomegranate sauce €6.00.
There is a dish of white rice, with fried noodles and cumin to supplement your dish at €3.40, which might be necessary as if the hummus is anything to go by – you may still be hungry.
They have some interesting sounding desserts (I couldn’t afford to try) such as a Bocado del aristocrata – a dish of pistachio nuts, cream and blossom water. €5.70. Sounds awesome. No idea what it would look or taste like. And there are baklava – the typical extra-sweet little pastries made with pastry, nuts and honey.
I had a red tea with fresh mint – which came served in a proper little glass beaker although it did cost a whopping 2 euros. Other drinks are fairly typical Western drinks. They serve alcohol-free beer – so clara sins are available. Yum.
Plus side: good service, good hummus, traditional music and good tea.
Downside: ultra modern décor, over bright lighting and expensive.
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