Fairouz has been around since the 1980s, serving such glorious Lebanese dishes as stuffed dolmas and roast lamb on white-linen-covered tables. Then, after a hiatus of 10 years, it was resuscitated by co-owner Hussain Rahal, a member of the original family running Fairouz, which, by the way, means “turquoise” (note the restaurant’s turquoise banquette and accent colours throughout).
Contemporary and upscale, there’s exposed brick and rich decorative touches — a stairway curves gracefully to the second floor — making for an elegant yet comfortable ambience.
Complimenting the decor is Middle Eastern cuisine that’s modern. No surprise, as former executive chef for Eighteen, Walid El-Tawil, brings big ideas. He’s still doing brochettes (now called kebabs), but for his beef version from Turkey, luscious eggplant purée with smoked Gouda is added to the plate. Eat with handmade thin lavash bread sprinkled with cumin. Speaking of spices, menu items feature fennel seeds, sumac, ajwan (pungent like oregano), along with enigmatic mixes such as the Moroccan ras al hanout. One unusual dish, a whole grilled trout, is stuffed with sautéed Swiss chard and overlaid with fennel bulb confit and preserved lemon. Sundays and Mondays, only mezze is served with, say, Monforte halloumi from Milton, made without salt, or lamb köfte with charred onion.
Knowledgeable and warm, service is top-notch.
In a city known for its plethora of shawarma joints, it’s a pleasure to have an elegant, modern option for Lebanese cuisine.