“The Best Middle Eastern I have ever eaten. A Gastric dream, you must go”
Lebanese Gastric Dream
While staying at the Intercontinental hotel in Amman Jordan, the concierge recommended one of the restaurants in the hotel to me. It was the Bourj Al Hamam Lebanese traditional cuisine. I was hesitating at first because I was in Jordan, and when I visit a country, I like to try that country’s cuisine. I was not in Lebanon, but agreed, and I am glad I did. The atmosphere was perfect. Fine décor, tables set properly, and a friendly welcoming environment regardless of where you are from. My Captain server was Jamal, and his assistant was Mr. Ali, and both were very professional, their level of English was superb, and their knowledge and love of the food industry reminded me of my younger days in the restaurant world when I learned to serve and Captain. It was fun to teach them the secret to pouring wine without any drips, they loved that. The restaurant Manager, knowing that I was a Chef, wanted me to try a variety, which is exactly what I wanted to do, so he knew what I wanted based on a simple conversation of what I did for a living. He recommended an assorted hot and cold starter plate, and let me tell you, the Gastric experience began, and I felt like I was in heaven. First presented to me was a bowl of Jordanian Desert Olives immersed in an olive juice and hot green pepper sauce that was a wonderful start. The variety plate consisted of Chick Peas Hummus with home-made White Pita , Moutabble obergine dip (Eggplant), Tabbouleh which was a parsley, tomato, lemon rind and olive oil blend, served on a romaine sprig, which was a perfect palate cleanser for the other starters. Next was a traditional Fattoush Salad which is a blend of vegetables and olives with lemon dressing, and on the hot side a Rkak, which is a Spring Roll deep fried and stuffed not with Chicken as is the tradition, but a Brie Cheese…OMG Fabulous. Then there was a Sambousek Meat Pie, and finally a Vegetarian sample of Wara’ Enab, which is a vegetable blend medley stuffed in vine leaves. The entire dish was a dream. The Wara’ Enab needed some salt and pepper for flavor, but by far the Moutabble obergine dip was the best item on the plate. The Tabbouleh helped cleanse my palette in between trying each item, and the wine was a Local Jordanian vintage from the Petra Valley called St. Georges Pinot Noir. The pinot Noir was lite, very similar to a Sonoma county Pinot, and given time can pack a punch similar to a Willamette or Burgundy Pinot.
The entrée course spoke for itself. It was a fried Red Mullet Fish, known as the Sultan Ibrahim. It was served over a bed of fried home-made Pita Bread. After removing the head, tail, and back bone, the fish was served with a Parsley Tarator Dip. Now, this was different from the typical Bosnian Tarator that I have had and made in the past, it did not contain cucumber. It was strictly garlic, water, and emulsified in olive oil with fresh parsley. It added wonderful flavor to the fish. Finally for Dessert came recommended from Mr. Jamal the Osmalieh a traditional Arabic sweet stuffed cream topped with pistachio and fried crisps. The dessert was served with a very strong Turkish Coffee that kept me awake long enough to write this review. The Chef de Cuisine was Mr. Yousef and he was assisted by his Sous chef Mr. Ziad, and both were friendly and open to the critic that I offered. The intercontinental Hotel should be proud to have such a professional staff in one of its restaurants, and I highly recommend this traditional restaurant to any visitor to Amman in the future. As a warning to non-smokers, there is not a non-smoking section and as traditional to the Jordanian public upon request was a hookah water pipe display consisting of an apple flavor smoke that has the equivalent of enough nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes. The best part is that if people smoke next to you it smells like smoked apple wood, not cigarette, but do not order it if you do not smoke. I give this restaurant 4 out 5 stars which for me is a high rating, so please try when you do visit. My bill before 20% gratuity was 86.00 JOD ($121.00 USD, € 94.00 Euros, or £ 76.00 GBP). Enjoy my friends.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.