I have long heard about Villa Fayrouz but have never had the opportunity to check it out. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that it had opened its door at The Avenues. Having achieved phenomenal success with its flagship restaurant at Al’ Shaab, the Avenues branch was unveiled in July 2010, presenting the same great Lebanese food in a cozy, convivial atmosphere. Like the other outlet, the Villa Fayrouz Avenues is another temple dedicated to the memory of the legendary Lebanese singer, Fayrouz. Not surprisingly, you can find walls covered with photos of the diva in her various getups within its spacious interior.
Washed in beautiful natural woods and flooded with natural light, the main hall is decked out in all Middle Eastern splendor, with intricately carved wooden beams and Moorish-style motifs adorning its ceilings. Serious thought has also been expended to create the perfect dining experience, with its spacious interior, high ceilings and glass doors separating the smoking section from the non-smoking area. Well-groomed wait staff zips around, taking orders and making small talk, a congenial setting indeed.
Attracted here by the rave reviews of my friends, I have to admit that their advice was certainly not misguided. With the quality of the food here, it’s hard not to be floored by its numerous signatures. The dinner began on a promising note with their mezzas; a friendly diaspora of one-upmanship over the other. The Fattoush, a delectable mix of fresh greens tossed with fried pita bread and lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and Sumac, was alluring. The Eggplant Musakaa which followed was another keeper. The dish hit all the right notes in terms of flavors; slightly sour, a little bit sweet, and accompanied by the smooth creamy texture of the eggplant. Perfectly balanced in seasoning, the Vine Leaves in Olive Oil, was another big hit at our table. The citrus hint of lemon and the subtle notes of mint, olive oil and tomatoes was a harmonious balance of flavors. However the highlight for me and perhaps for all of us was the Hummus with Sausages. Exceeding fine and not overly heavy, the Hummus was lusciously topped with finely diced sausages giving the dish a slight salty touch.
Spoilt by the sinful array of mezzas, we were wondering if the mains could keep up with our sky-high expectations. We were not to be disappointed. The Mix Grill arrived, apparently straight out of the grill, smoke aspewing. The platter was a feast of grilled delights with kebbeh kebab, shish taouk, lamb cubes and beef slabs, covered in fries and accompanied by two slices of bread. The meat was all cooked to perfection with every morsel juicily tender.
We rounded up our dinner with Osmalliyeh as dessert. I have always had a soft spot for the Lebanese sweets but the ones at Villa Fayrouz are phenomenal. The shredded pasty on top was exquisitely crunchy and the sweetened clotted cream within was smooth, creamy and beautifully tasty. The syrup sauce added an additional sugared kick and in all, the dessert was pretty spot-on in terms of presentation and taste.
As we leaned back in our seats, waiting for our food to settle, we noticed other patrons displaying that look of pure content. Perhaps it was their ability to transform everyday dishes into outstanding works of culinary art, or perhaps the way everything here seems to exude finesse; Villa Fayrouz has earned itself a place in my heart and will certainly be a dining spot which I will go back to again and again.