Ottawa Magazine - - CENTRETOWN -

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.

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