Rating: 3.4. From 123 votes.
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15 Reviews
012 6068600 Website

The Courtyard, Rawdah St

So another Lebanese eatery has hit our shores, with an already established reputation in Beirut, SemSom offers Lebanese Cuisine ‘with a Twist’. The casual dining feel is worlds apart from the other Lebanese restaurants in town, you’ll find no shabby or sticky table cloths here.

Instead it’s all smart wooden floorboards, solid teak seating and smartly dressed staff. The focus here seems to be on both presentation and quality, and I’m happy to report the attention extended from both the interior to the food itself. The Lebanese music playing on arrival added some authenticity to the equation, and just in case that wasn’t enough, there are dozens of black & white photos of Lebanese icons and historical ruins to bring home the message that this is a Lebanese restaurant.

As I was visiting solo, I chose not to dine in, although I did take a seat while I waited for my order to be prepared ( which can’t have taken much longer than fifteen minutes to prepare). Not wanting to overdo it, I ordered only a handful of the numerous dishes on offer here. Trying the Mixed Grill, Red Tabbouleh, Eggplant Motabal, Aish Essaraya for dessert, and a Mango Smoothie.

A few of the above weren’t my first choices, as some dishes aren’t available for Takeaway, The Trio (three flavour) Tabbouleh being one, and the Ruz (Rice) Crème Brule being the other (Apparently these are pre prepared).

As for the verdict on food, On the Whole I was quite impressed, the Mixed Grill was as it should be, hot flavoursome, so far so good. The Cool Mango Smoothie was also very good, reminding me of my much favoured Mango Lassi I always order whenever at Busabaeathai in London. The Egpplant Motabal was also pleasant, the only shortfall here was the bread, which was the usual Arabic pita type in plastic bags, Fresh bread like that prepared at Abou Shakra would be nice to see. As for the Red Tabbouleh, this was ok, if a little oily, but then It wasn’t my first choice, so I wouldn’t have normally ordered this.

The Open Plan kitchen which seems to be all the rage these days, seemed to work quite well, the music drowning out the usual sounds which emanate from such kitchens. As for the dessert, the Aish Essaraya (Rich Man’s Bread) was perfect, the sugared rose water brioche beautifully topped with a creamy custard topping, so simple, but so good! All in all, I think SemSom are on to a good thing, and based on the quality of much of what I did try means I wouldn’t mind eating here again.

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