Place de la Navigation 8
Food 6/10 (except for dessert which gets a 1/10)
Menu Choice 7/10
Value for money 7/10
Les Saveurs du Liban is a Lebanese restaurant in Paquis. Visiting one sunny Thursday evening after a dip in the lake we sat out on the busy terrace/pavement area. It was quite a squeeze as the tables were packed tightly together (an eavesdroppers and people watchers paradise!), but as no one wanted to sit indoors on such a nice day you can’t really blame for them for getting as many tables as they could into their space!
The menu is largely composed of hot and cold entrees that you can pick and choose from to create your own mezze (around 10 – 15 CHF per dish, but with offers for groups), but there is also a selection of grills (23 – 28 CHF), some house specialities (23 – 26CHF) and even some steak tartars (20CHF)! As a group of four, we decided to split two starters, had a main each and shared a dessert rather than have a one big shared mezze. This turned out to be plenty of food, in fact we struggled to finish!
The drinks selection is fairly limited, they do offer some Lebanese wine on the list, but as the price was pretty high we opted for a inoffensive if mediocre Swiss white instead and plenty of water (it was a hot evening!)
For starters we shared were some falafel (deep fried balls of crushed chickpeas) and some kebbe au poulet (chicken, spices and mushrooms deep fried in pastry). For me, the falafels were a little bit plain and under seasoned, although the yoghurt dipping sauce helped with this. The kebbe though were great, tasty and moist with a generous ratio of filling to pastry.
Feeling indecisive I chose the assiette (a chef’s selection of hot and cold starters) for my main course. This consisted of hommus (chickpea puree), moutabbal (roast aubgergine puree), moussakka (aubergines and chickpeas in a tomato sauce), warak arish (vine leaf stuffed with rice), more falafel, sambousek (little pasties, one stuffed with meat, the other with cheese) and fatayer bi sabanekh (a pastie stuffed with spinach).
All in all the food was pretty good. While the warak arish was a bit non-descript, the moutabbal and the hommus were smooth and delicious and all of the pasties, while a little heavy and greasy, were very tasty (the cheese filling was my favourite). My only complaint would be that, although the moussakka was tasty it seemed as if it should have been warm rather than cold.
I wouldn’t say the savoury food was amazing, there was nothing particularly I would rave about or that I felt I had to go back and have again. However I also have no major complaints. It was tasty and enjoyable standard Lebanese cooking.
On the other hand dessert however was a complete let-down. Sharing the Baklava between us we were presented with some rather dry, strangely textured little squares of desert that were masquerading as baklava rather than the moist sweet layers of filo, honey and nuts that we were expecting. A real disappointment.
Les Saveurs du Liban has a great location 5 minutes stroll from the lake. The atmosphere is friendly and the staff seemed happy to help (they patiently explained the food and the culture to some non-French speaking visitors sat near to us). The service itself was quite slow, most likely because they were very busy, but we weren’t in a rush so this wasn’t a problem.
The savoury food was solid rather than spectacular, but at CHF45 per head including wine it was a fairly reasonable night out.