I finally, finally got to try Byblos! Last weekend, I was supposed to come here with Ai and Jing for our catch-up dinner, but because Byblos is very popular and their reservation gets booked up very quickly, we weren’t able to get a table in time — we went to Boralia instead, which I highly, highly recommend!
Thus, Anh and I came here for Byblos instead on a Tuesday night because we both wanted to try it. I made reservations for two for a Tuesday night and it was easy to get because I booked early. When I arrived after 7:20 p.m. (sorry for being late!),there were a lot of people in the restaurant already! I really liked the atmosphere of the restaurant as it was loud enough to have a nice vibe yet I could still carry a conversation with Anh. I really liked the colour scheme of the restaurant too. Byblos serves Eastern Mediterranean food and it’s based on a sharing plate system. It’s best to come here with 3 or 4 people if you really want to try out more of their food!
Since I was late, Anh ordered bread (Organic House Labneh) to start. I got to try it too and thought that the Fennel, Honey, Olive Oil dip with Barbari Bread was quite interesting. It was an authentic yogurt dip and you could really taste the sourness in it.
We ordered the Lamb Ribs and I was surprised with how small the portion was. For $14, I really expected more in the plate. Nevertheless, the lamb ribs were amazing!! The meat practically fell off the bone and it was tremendously tender and soft. It was so good!! I wanted more of this! It was a little spicy too from the Red Chili Schug.
The Lamb Ribs arrived very quickly to our table, so when the rest of the dishes arrived slow, I was a little perplexed.
The Tuna Ceviche and Steak Tartare arrived together. I actually love ceviche and tartare! For ceviche though, it’s a hit-and-miss because it depends on how well the restaurant flavours the dish.
The Tuna Ceviche came with Green Schug, Crème Fraiche Buttermilk, and Squid Ink Chip. The squid ink chips were so unique — I’ve never had this before! — and actually so delicious! They were perfectly crunchy and the right size to put the ceviche on to eat. There weren’t enough squid ink chips actually. We finished it before the tuna ceviche was done. Anh and I both didn’t like the tuna ceviche very much. Anh said the lime flavour wasn’t strong enough for her taste and I didn’t like the texture of the tuna very much. It was a very ehh dish.
I was looking forward to the Steak Tartare. This version of Steak Tartare included Roasted Red Chili, Mint, Labneh (strained yogurt), and Barbari Bread. This was the same bread that Anh ordered which came with the yogurt. The steak and the condiments were blended together very well with the yogurt topping it off. I didn’t realize how spicy this steak tartare was and the bread was mandatory to eat together with the steak tartare otherwise the spice was just too much. Usually, I like to take a little bit of steak tartare and eat it separately, but for this, because it was too spicy, I couldn’t do that. I didn’t like this steak tartare unfortunately because I didn’t like the texture of it and it was too spicy for my taste. I was very disappointed with this because of that. 😦
Up next, we waited for our “large” sharing plate (the previous ones we ordered were all from the “small” dishes category). We ordered the Turkish Manti Dumplings which were made with Smokey Eggplant, Yogurt Sauce, and Molasses. Again, it was a very, very unique dish. I’ve never had Turkish dumplings before! 😀 They use a lot of yogurt in their Mediterranean dishes, I’ve noticed. The yogurt is good!
Unfortunately, for this dish, we had to wait a long time for it and even had to remind the server about it and when we did, she did kindly inform us that it was on the way. Still, I felt like the food came a little too slowly for my taste after the lamb ribs — our experience will differ from yours!
We also ordered a side of Hand Rolled Couscous (Brown Butter, Saffron, and Herbs) that arrived together with the Turkish Manti Dumplings. The dumplings smelled amazing due to the molasses. Again, it was a smaller dish than I expected but it was so cute! Each Turkish dumpling was a little pyramid shape and contained eggplant in it. The molasses sauce was so delicious and paired perfectly with the hand rolled couscous.
On first taste, the Hand Rolled Couscous tasted very bland and a little hard. However, after a few more bites and especially with the molasses sauce from the dumplings, I really enjoyed eating it! In fact, I thought it might have been one of the most authentic couscous I’ve never had. Couscous can be so delicious, and I was reminded of this during this meal.
To finish off our night, we shared the Pavlova for dessert. I remember having Pavlova for the first time at Ruby Watchco and liking it. This time, this Pavlova was truly unique because it incorporated many Mediterranean flavours into it; it had Rose Pastry Cream, Pomegranate Molasses, Fig, and Pashmak (Persian cotton candy)! Wow!
It was so pretty to start and we took a lot of pictures from different angles (naturally!). The pashmak was so unique. It tasted like cotton candy but the “cotton” parts were more dense than regular cotton candy and it was not as sweet Anh said it reminded her of meat floss actually!
I really liked the figs that were incorporated into this dessert as the fig slices were so fresh and balanced the slight sweetness of the dessert. It was so delicious. This dessert, the lamb ribs, and the couscous with the Turkish dumplings were my favourite dishes of the night. We both don’t recommend the Tuna Ceviche nor the Steak Tartare unfortunately.
Despite sharing a bill of $50 each (Byblos is pricey!), I feel like I definitely need to return again to try the rest of their dishes. There are so many more plates that I want to try! However, because each small plate can be upwards of $15 to $30 and contain such small portions of food, I’m not sure how soon I’ll be back. I actually didn’t know that Byblos was such an expensive place to dine at! When you look at our pictures, we actually didn’t even eat THAT much food — the quantity is lacking here.
I really am curious about others’ experiences at Byblos. If you’ve dined here before at this beautiful establishment, leave your thoughts! 🙂