MEAT ME AT LAVAL

HI Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - STORY AND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY SALEM AFIFI

Be­gin the New Year with some mouth-wa­ter­ing meaty meals and awaken the car­ni­vore in you.

It’s sort of typ­i­cal to think of danc­ing and par­ty­ing when we hear these words: New Year’s Eve. But there are a bunch of us who you’d prob­a­bly find sit­ting at a party, by the ta­ble near­est to the buf­fet with a mas­sive plate full of soon-to-be-de­voured de­li­cious, chef spe­cial­ties. Yes, I like my NYE blast­ing with loud mu­sic but also ac­com­pa­nied with food that will add sparkles to my party ex­pe­ri­ence. This year I am tak­ing you to Laval Res­tau­rant and Lounge, where a lav­ish French-in­spired buf­fet with all your favourite meat cuts and a lot more will be served. Buckle up, it’s go­ing to be a meaty ride.

I have an un­con­di­tional love for meaty es­capades, and at Laval is where I go to get my ab­so­lute favourite fix. This time around, I had the plea­sure of meet­ing sous chef Gerald Vibal who promised to dish up juicy flavours as we count­down to mid­night.

I sat at the rooftop ter­race over­look­ing the Ghala Golf course in full an­tic­i­pa­tion mode, wait­ing to have a sam­ple bite from their up­com­ing buf­fet. The place will be serv­ing a va­ri­ety of dishes with fish and chicken (which are tasty as well) but I had a car­niv­o­rous crav­ing that needed at­ten­tion. Luck­ily, Gerald cooked up a storm at Laval’s kitchen and pre­pared a num­ber of plates full of his suc­cu­lent cre­ations. As he be­gan de­scrib­ing the dishes, my stom­ach growls sur­faced; over­loaded with ex­cite­ment.

I kick-started the feast­ing ses­sion with grilled and then baked egg­plant rolls, filled with creamy feta cheese, and glazed with pome­gran­ate re­duc­tion and a hint of olive oil. The dish was im­pec­ca­ble, the soft, rich-in-flavour, slightly sweet flesh of the egg­plant mixed with the creamy taste of feta is to die for.

Af­ter savour­ing the starter, my pro­teins started fly­ing off the kitchen and into my ta­ble. I was sur­rounded with a blend of fire-kissed, braised, and smoked aro­mas. The first plate came in with a ten­der, eight-hours-braised New Zealand lamb shank, laid on creamy Po­lenta and de­li­cious lamb jus. The dish was su­perb. You can have it with your rice if you need to have some carbs with it, but to truly ex­pe­ri­ence the juici­ness of this dish, have it by it­self - Just per­fect.

For the sec­ond dish, I dived into fork-ten­der cheeks of Aus­tralian grain-fed beef, braised for eight hours, and served with beef jus, mash pota­toes, and corn suc­co­tash. This was an ab­so­lute joy to savour. I had one bite af­ter an­other, giv­ing my taste buds a fleshy treat to re­mem­ber. The dish was su­per ten­der and full of juices. Not to be missed.

By the time the third dish came out, my stom­ach was beg­ging for mercy, but I had my sleeves rolled up and ready for more meat. You can­not walk into Laval and leave with­out try­ing their steaks. I tried their Rib Eye, which was mar­i­nated in gar­lic; fresh thyme; crushed pep­per­corns; and olive oil, fin­ished with Mal­don Smoked Sea Salt. The steak was cooked and served just the way I like it, moist and per­fectly rare.

Now, the star of the show was the smoked US Beef Ribs, mar­i­nated with an in-house bar­be­cue rub for twenty four hours, and slowly smoked with hick­ory chips for an­other six­teen hours. I think you’d fig­ure that this was the pin­na­cle of my meaty es­capade at Laval. The smoky, slightly crispy ex­te­rior added a tonne of char­ac­ter to this glo­ri­ous dish. A must-try for bar­be­cue lovers.

As I strug­gled to fin­ish my suc­cu­lent rib, a co­coa-filled dessert was placed on the ta­ble. It was ‘Death by Choco­late’, a dessert made of lay­ers of var­i­ous cho­co­lates, coated with choco­late ganache, and served with choco­late fondue. This is a dream­come-true treat for all choco­holics, and a nice way to end my tast­ing ses­sion.

Over­all, I truly had an amaz­ing time at Laval, and as usual, their food is ex­cel­lent, qual­ity-wise and quan­tity, too. For New Year’s Eve, you are promised to have a won­der­ful evening with a buf­fet spread and a DJ to keep you and your loved ones en­ter­tained through­out the night as the clock hits mid­night. Why not wel­come 2018 with good vibes, great mu­sic, and a full stom­ach? Be there and thank me later.

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