Ka­mal Mouza­wak

Lebanon Traveler - - INSIDER TIPS -

If some­one were vis­it­ing Le­banon for 24 hours where would you take them?

To start with they should eat well – in the morn­ing a Le­banese break­fast at the roof top gar­den of Al­bergo (01 339797, al­ber­gob­eirut.com, 137 Rue Ab­del Wa­han El Inglizi), then a sec­ond foul break­fast at Le Pro­fesseur (01 703666, Mar Elias Street). Then street food as an early din­ner, falafel, shawarma, fol­lowed by the per­fect mezze din­ner. End the day with a sun­set drink at Sport­ing Club (01 742482, El Ma­nara). In be­tween all the in­dul­gence take a drive through the city to un­der­stand Beirut, tak­ing in the Cor­niche, Hamra, the for­mer Green Line, Gem­mayzeh, Mar Mikhael and Achrafieh, a visit to the Na­tional Mu­seum (beirut­na­tional­mu­seum.com) and of course some Beirut so­cial­iz­ing... sa­lut, ca va?

Name your fa­vorite places to go for Sun­day brunch?

For an early fam­ily lunch go to the seafront restau­rant Chez Maguy in Ba­troun (03 439147, Mak’ad el Mir). For a fancy French meal go to Villa Clara (70 995739, vil­laclara.fr, Mar Mikhael, Achrafieh).

Where is the olive oil in your kitchen from?

The north! That’s what my fa­ther de­cided for us, for all of our lives! With the com­pe­ti­tion be­tween north and south over their olive supremacy, it was Koura and the north that won over my fa­ther. He used to go for the day, buy his olives, then go to an olive press and ex­tract "his" oil – a two year stock in huge old clay jars.

Tell us about one des­ti­na­tion in Le­banon that no­body knows about – your hid­den gem await­ing dis­cov­ery.

Jord el Ba­troun with its dra­matic val­leys and vil­lages, and then, at the end of it, the ma­jes­tic Lak­louk.

Name one vil­lage or re­gion that feels like home.

Any high moun­tain vil­lage – I’m def­i­nitely a son of the high al­ti­tudes, the jord, deep val­leys and high moun­tains. One of my fa­vorites is the Ado­nis Val­ley and at its top Char­bineh in Jord Qartaba.

What's your fa­vorite out­door ac­tiv­ity in Le­banon and where to do it?

I love to do noth­ing in the mid­dle of nowhere; in na­ture or in the high moun­tains.

Where would you go for the per­fect spring week­end in Le­banon?

Any­where in Le­banon where it is green, clean and flow­ery in spring is just per­fect. For me, it’s the moun­tains again... where melted snow flows into the rivers ev­ery­where. I love the green West Bekaa, the lush Am­miq wet­lands, the Cedars and the sur­round­ing moun­tains from Jaj to Tan­nourine, where you can find the most pre­cious wild tulips and iris. Though they are just for the plea­sure of the eyes ... don't pick! soukeltayeb.com

Pas­sion­ate foodie and founder of Tawlet restau­rant and Souk el Tayeb, Ka­mal Mouza­wak shares some of his fa­vorite eat­ing spots and ru­ral des­ti­na­tions in Le­banon

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