As for the grub, I wanted typical Damascene food so one night we had Hirrak Isba’ou (lentils, Quadrettini - flat square pasta, coriander, toasted bread, garlic and fried onions), a Vegetarian Kibbé stuffed with spinach or swiss chard & onions, Fatteh bi Hummous (a warm dish of fried bread and chick peas topped with yoghurt and drizzled with pine seeds cooked in lard), Fattit Makdous (small eggplants stuffed with meat, some tomato pasty sauce, topped with yoghurt). We also had Kibbé Nayyé (raw meat) with chopped condiments. A traditionally scrumptious meal! I fell in love with the Arak serving tray, smart and practicle, with round holes for the glasses on the rim area and a bigger one in the middle for the ice bucket! Shoo hal moufaja’a el mahdoumé?!
Can you believe the Syrians have banned smoking in restaurants? Well, “Homsi” style… yaani some places allow hubbly bubblies?!?! But in general, they got the right idea.
Went to the Four Seasons Hotel, where the woman security guard was very friendly and polite. AEN wanted to show me their XO Cigar Lounge. They banned smoking in the Cigar Lounge too, therefore… there was no one there!
Their wine list was quite impressive, so was their selection of malts and grappas/eau de vie. The sommelier they hired to put the list together knew his stuff. My favorite part was the wide selection of champagne, and to top it off, they carried most of them in half bottles!! Now how smart is that in champagne upselling!
We ordered a bottle of Beronia Rioja Reserva 2005 from Spain: a tannic deep red wine made of 90% tempranillo grapes. It carried aromas of nuts and toasted bread within its oakiness. Gentle velvety on the palate, we got deep dark red berries and ripe fruit, and a little vanilla. This bottle was sexy in a smoky way, with minerals lingering around till the finish. Good call AEN!
All good things come to an end… and they sure did when we ordered a plate of assorted cheese to go along with our Spanish Rioja. To make a long story short, the only thing that was missing on the cheese platter was La Vache qui Rit and Picon!! Naza’touha shabaab!
Kudos to the Syrians for preserving their old city… or maybe it was by accident cuz they didn’t have much of a choice !! But seriously, at least they have an old city with an authentic oriental character. Ahlein yaamo! Ma tzourounaa?