Unless youre a regular visitor to the Rawdah Star Complex in Jeddah, you’re unlikely to have passed by Chez Siran Restaurant.. Tucked inside, it is easy to miss as it has no flashy signs, and as far as I know has not yet run any advertisement in the press or any other media. It is the kind of place that thrives on word of mouth, and word of mouth is what I will try to do here.
So what’s Chez Siran? Chez Siran, which means Siran’s House, is an Armenian Lebanese restaurant that was the brain child of an Armenian Lebanese Lady named Siran, who wanted to marry the culinary traditions of her original homeland Armenia and her adopted homeland Lebanon, and I think the result is wonderful.
There is nothing spectacular about the restaurant’s look from the outside that would distinguish it from any other restaurant in the block, it looks refreshingly regular. When we entered the door the host welcomed us and we took the elevator to the family section on the first floor. There were a few occupied tables at the time, around 4 pm on a Thursday, but what made us worry was the presence of Shisha, our arch enemy in any dinning place. So we picked a table in the middle that separated us from the other diners, and thank God we did because almost all of them were huffing and puffing.
The interior of the restaurant was simple but elegant. The wooden tables and chairs are your regular issue, and it had sofas in the corner as well. The walls were decorated with colorful ceramic plates which was the only standout thing about the dÃ©cor.
The waiter brought the elegant sketchbook-like menus. When you start reading your menu, the story that inspired the opening will keep you busy for a while. Then you will notice that just like all Lebanese restaurants, Chez Siran’s menu is loaded with many and many kinds of Mezza, cold and hot. It also has salads and of course the main courses, which are mainly barbeque items, along with several kinds of desserts and drinks.
For salad we chose fattoush (19 SR), and for starters we chose muttabal (eggplant dip) (15 SR), kebbe (22 SR), and shrimp coriander (39 SR). Since those were more than what we usually get for starter we opted for only one main dish, Matznouv kebab (44 SR), which consists of kebab patties that looked more like burgers, topped with creamy yogurt and toasted peanuts. For drinks we tried the lemonade with mint (14 SR each).
While we are waiting, our waiter brought over a basket of hot pita bread and some diced and spiced olives, which we ate like hot bread. I had a difficult time controlling myself from eating the whole basket, (it was that yummy!).
The food we had was all wonderful, it tasted great and it was presented elegantly, we really had no complaints about anything we had, as it all was first rate. We have had fattoush, kebbe, and muttabal before in other restaurants, and the ones here measured up to the best of them. The shrimp coriander was the highlight of our meal, it was so delicious! A tad spicy, but not too much, and the coriander paste on it complemented the fried shrimp in excellently. It was like nothing we have ever tasted before. As for the Matznouv kebab; also excellent. It was a shame we had started eating it after filling up on so many ofÂ the wonderful starters that we had difficulties finishing our only main dish. The lemonade was also tasty.
The service is apt and speedy but was not spectacular, but that is alright, apt is fine as long as the food is great. Our bill mounted to 192.05 SR, 15% service included. Which is really not that expensive for the great food we had.
In conclusion, we highly recommend the restaurant especially for those people who are fond of Lebanese food, as Chez Siran will offer you that food you love with an Armenian twist. But a word to the wise, if you are anything like us sensitive to Shisha, then we advise you to chose a less crowded time to visit, and avoid at any cost the dinner rush hour on weekends, because the hazy smokeÂ can ruin your meal no matter how wonderful the food is, and you don’t want that to be your first impression of this great place.
Tel.: 02-2616910 / 02-2616920
P.O. Box 20799 Jeddah 21465 Saudi Arabia
E-mail: [email protected]
Chez Siran Story
Her father named her Siran after his Armenian mother. Siran is a 48 year old lady who was born and raised in Lebanon. She has always loved to cook. Ever since she was a child she used to spend hours in the kitchen with her Armenian grandma.
Siran was living in Beirut; it was there where she completed her studies in architecture. But her love for cooking and her old times in grandmaâ€™s kitchen were never to be forgotten. She always had the feeling that she wanted to do something unusual one day. She always felt she had two hearts, one Armenian and one Lebanese. At home she always cooked both, Lebanese and Armenian; she also came up with combinations.
Later she moved with her husband and children to the Gulf for her husbandâ€™s work. She has finally decided to do the unusual thing that she always felt she had to do. She decided to open her own restaurant.
It was not however any restaurant, it was â€œChez Siranâ€. It was her own place were she combined and brought back her love to the Lebanese Tradition and culture in her own Armenian refined way. It was a combination of all her experience. That with grandma, her Lebanese/Armenian cooking, her Moauneh and her contemporary traditional collection. A restaurant new of its kind. It is not only about food. It is about a story of someone born and raised to the love of tradition and to the appreciation of modernity. This is the experience that Siran wanted to share.