Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A taste of Lebanon.

Tomorrow is my 52nd birthday and it will be a normal day at work for me. To celebrate my birthday I went out for a meal last night with my wife Gail and our friends Faye and David. Choosing where to go for a meal with friends or family is always a matter of discussion and negotiation, so that everybody is happy with the choice of restaurant. The exception to this convention is birthdays, when only the person whose birthday it is has a say in the venue. Nobody has a right of veto and only the birthday person can decide where to go.

So, where did I decide to have my birthday meal? Readers of this blog will know that I have an interest in the conflicts taking place in the Middle East. I enjoy reading the reports from Robert Fisk in the Independent newspaper and have read 2 of his books. Robert Fisk has lived in Beirut, Lebanon for over 30 years now and he writes with such addictive passion. Now, I cannot go to Lebanon for a birthday treat but I can certainly sample the food. Robert Fisk is an English journalist whom I admire and as he has lived in Lebanon for over 30 years, he must like the food! Readers of this blog will know how much I enjoy Arab food on holiday, so I chose a Lebanese restaurant here in Cardiff for my birthday meal. Sadly, both sisters-in-law decided not to come to my birthday meal, simply because I had chosen a Lebanese restaurant. Their partners were not consulted and Diane and Maggie simply said they would not come because they did not like my choice. Well, shame on them for being so ignorant, they missed a really good meal. Gail had to come because she is my wife, Faye and David go with us on foreign holidays and have a very open attitude to food - they like all food and will give every dish a try.

I chose the Mina Lebanese Restaurant at 43 Crwys Road in the Cathays district of Cardiff. For my starters I had Falafel - a Vegetarian traditional eastern snack made of chickpeas and broadbeans and flavoured with exotic spices, shaped in to balls and deep fried with our special sauce. This was very tasty and reminded me of foreign holidays in North Africa.

For my main course I had Kubbabil Sayniyeh - a most popular Lebanese dish. Two flat layer of baked minced lamb and cracked wheat shell, filled with seasoned minced lamb and pine nuts, served with our mint sauce, rice and salad. This dish was out of this world, it was simply gorgeous. This is the very taste that I was looking for and gave me the joy that I get from eating Arab food. This dish is beautiful and I cannot fault it. I cannot think of another dish that beats it. Now I know why Robert Fisk has lived in Lebanon for over 30 years. With food of this quality and taste, I would not want to come back to boring, bland British food. On the strength of this meal, I would happily book a holiday to Lebanon tomorrow. The Kubbabil Sayniyeh gets full marks from me!

In keeping with the Lebanese menu, I drank a Lebanese beer called Almaza . Faye and I enjoyed this beer and we could drink it until the cows came home!

So, I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday meal and I would recommend the Mina Lebanese Restaurant to everyone. Whatever thoughts you may have about the conflicts in the Middle East, put them aside and simply enjoy the food. The Lebanese certainly know how to cook a delicious meal and the portions at the Mina Lebanese Restaurant are large, so they had 4 very happy customers last night!
Comments:
Happy Birthday Mr Clynes
 
Thank you Matthew and what did I do on my actual birthday? The longest duty on our roster, No 118 - start at 07.50 and due to finish at 21.40 which actually became 22.05 due to the usual delays/timings.
 
Stephen, Late on my wishes. Nevertheless. Have a fantastic year ahead.
 
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