A Good Sense of Humous

Relocated to 23A Yusif Mammedaliyev Street, just around the corner from its previous venue   Tel.: (012) 493 3433

Beyrut, 19 Tagiyev Street, Baku.

Beyrut was the first restaurant I visited when I came to Baku in September ’13. After a day of heavy duty apartment hunting, tired and crotchety and deeply unwilling to go back to the Monolith Hotel in Badamdar where we had been put up and which I absolutely hated with a vengeance, we were meandering around the only area we had heard of, Fountain Square. Just off the square, along a little tree lined side street, we discovered this restaurant. Two days into our Baku adventure, I was already missing my Waitrose Piri Piri humous, not to mention my home, family, cat and friends and after a day of very disappointing property viewings, I was wondering whether we had done the right thing. Hungry and a little fed up as we were, the sudden appearance of a Lebanese restaurant seemed just what the doctor ordered. A shared Meze and a glass of wine later, we felt as though a favourite Lebanese auntie had enveloped us in her arms and kissed us better. With a happy full stomach, life took on a completely different hue and we were ready for anything that came our way. Perhaps the wine had something to do with that as well!

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Let me cut straight to the chase, pretty this restaurant ain’t! A bit tired looking and very brown, it’s not exactly big on ambience. The pictures on the walls are pretty kitsch, the furniture basic and plastic-y, the napkins thin paper. But the staff are lovely, friendly and efficient, there’s always a warm welcome and the floor to ceiling windows on the ground floor make for good people watching. The proprietor?/manageress keeps a beady eye from behind the bar to make sure everything runs smoothly. Then, and on our many visits since, we chose the Meze. A generous selection of scrumptious Middle Eastern dishes arrived, more, in fact, than the two of us could manage. Humous, taboulleh, chopped tomatoes, laban, stuffed vine leaves, little meat and chicken kebabs, crispy cheese, spinach or pork filled pastries, falafel, olives and a whole host of other little bowls containing typically Lebanese healthy comfort food and, of course, the obligatory pitta bread, as well as something akin to poppadoms. The wine by the glass may be a little on the rough side but it’s still perfectly quaffable. To me, at least.

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This restaurant is possibly not the right place for a romantic date or to while away a celebratory evening with friends and it’s certainly not smart but it’s just great for a satisfying quick bite when you can’t be bothered to cook or you’re feeling a bit below par and just fancy something yummy before heading out to the pub or back home. At AZN15 for the meze and AZN7 for the business lunch, it’s easy on the pocket too.

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