How would you describe 2022 for MBT?
It was a great year for us despite the pandemic and competition in the market. Our restaurants are still considered the best in the capital for Lebanese food. The culinary team of Beirut Sur Mer and Grand Beirut remain committed to delivering authentic Lebanese cuisine to guests.
In your opinion, what makes a F&B concept successful?
It has been around 18 months since we opened Beirut Sur Mer Abu Dhabi, and we launched Grand Beirut Abu Dhabi a year ago. We wanted both concepts to have a European feel, so we incorporated floral and modern touches rather than classical Lebanese tablecloths and décor. We also wanted to offer great food and an array of side dishes. At Beirut Sur Mer, the crab moutabbal, halawet el jibin with pistachio baklawa and amarena cherry are all created in front of our guests, at their table. Grand Beirut has a fully opened kitchen with live cooking stations; in fact, our kunafa station is trending on social media.
What inspires you when gearing up toward launching a new concept?
It is difficult to claim that a concept is created from nothing; most concepts stem from others, but each has a unique twist. I personally look out for what’s trending and take it to the next level. We are in the business of creating experiences. It is not enough to have a beautiful venue only or simply delicious food; the concept must blend with the food to create an exceptional experience. We try to pivot from what is traditional and present things in a new way.
What’s coming up next?
We are planning to open Grand Beirut soon in Al Qana, Abu Dhabi, in March 2023.
The Michelin Guide Abu Dhabi 2023
Abu Dhabi’s restaurants make their debut in the Michelin Guide with a selection of 42 restaurants in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, covering 16 cuisine types. Three restaurants received one Michelin star in Abu Dhabi (99 Sushi Bar, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi and Talea by Antonio Guida), four restaurants were awarded a Bib Gourmand (Almayass, Beirut Sur Mer, Otoro and Tazal) and three were awarded Michelin Guide Special Awards (service award: Rawad Hamdan and team, Restaurant Li Beirut; sommelier award: Marlon Nuque, Zuma Restaurant; and young chef award: Luigi Stinga, Restaurant Talea by Antonio Guida).