Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cedar

Last night as part of our continuing campaign to eat your way around the world in London after work, Paul and I lit on the Lebanese Cedar Restaurant.

(A stray thought; why is it always The Lebanon rather than just Lebanon. You never hear of The Switzerland. Answers on a postcard please.)

I had fattoush(which is a variety of chopped vegetables and fried Lebanese bread infused with mint, vinegar, olive oil and sumak) as a mezza and then a mixed grill (which is a selection of lamb and chicken cubes, shish kebab grilled on skewers served with onions and tomatoes).

Paul had Arayes - Lebanese bread filled with finely ground lamb, onions, parsley, cinnamon and allspice then toasted on the charcoal grill - then Kafta Kheshkhash (lamb with parsley and garlic grilled on skewers and served with a hot tomato sauce.
We also shared some rice and finished with Baclawa.

A particular revelation was the wine. We had a bottle of Clos St. Thomas and then got talking to Elia - the proprietor - about Lebanese wine. He put us on to some real good stuff called Massaya, a blended red from the Bekaa Valley. He told us that many people make their own wine and spirits and gave us a complimentary glass of what he called arack, which tasted more like Pernod than the Sri Lankan stuff I am most used to drinking.

What a great friendly place.
Since the beginning of time, everyone who stepped onto the Lebanese soil has paid tribute to the fertile land called : The Bekaa Valley. This stretch of land has been known as the cradle of the biggest empires. The Bekaa Valley is where the Romans chose to build one of the biggest jewels of Lebanon - The Temple of Bacchus - holding within its walls the hymn of love and the mystery and secrets of wine Winemaking is an art.
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