Lamb, hummus, and Lebanon's best flavors in Singapore's Kampong Glam district
The hype: Authentic Lebanese dining that’s surprisingly harder to come by than you’d think. Bussorah Street is a thriving hub of Muslim restaurants and halal eats, but Byblos Grill holds its own. The head chef is Lebanon-born Mohamad Salim, who brings to the table 15 years of F&B experience, including time in the kitchens of Burj Al Arab, the only seven-star hotel in Dubai. In prioritizing genuine Lebanese cuisine, Byblos Grill simultaneously debunks every self-proclaimed Lebanese restaurant that serves a confusing mix of Turkish, Mediterranean and Lebanese food—and reminds uninformed Singaporeans everywhere that Lebanon isn’t just about shawarmas.
The vibe: No-frills and casual, the restaurant is as down-to-earth as its warm, friendly staff. Housed in a two-storey shophouse in the heart of Bugis, Byblos Grill makes do with simple wooden furniture and ethnic baubles that add a touch of personality. Dine indoors or alfresco; at night, the second floor turns into extra space for the dinner crowds.
The food: Lebanese food is meant to be shared. Go straight for the Mezza Platter ($27.50), which eliminates all decision-making in choosing the best dip to go with your pita bread (they’re all good). Come for the hummus but stay for the other four dips—the Garlic Labneh is a tangy Lebanese hung yogurt made fresh daily in the restaurant; you’ll be shocked to realize the Moussaka’a, Moutabbal and Babaganoush are essentially eggplant done three ways—stewed, mashed and diced, and all tasting completely different.
Chef Mohamad imports Lebanese eggplants direct from Lebanon and prepares them upon-order so everything is as fresh as possible. Fans of Indian-style flavors will be taken by the Moussaka’a; we grew increasingly partial to the creamy, lemon tang of the Moutabbal. Mop it up with hot pita bread fresh from the oven (a wooden one shipped all the way from the Middle East), which isn’t on the menu, but is available on request.
For your main, get the Mixed Grill ($38.90-$75.90) to taste the best of the restaurant’s grilled meats—a combination of lamb kofta (minced lamb), lahem mashwi (grilled lamb cubes), chicken kofta (minced chicken) and shish tawouk (shish kebab). Everything is grilled in favor of healthier eating, yet there isn’t any of the tough dryness we’ve come to expect of grilled meat. A signature trick of Chef Mohamad’s, the lamb at Byblos Grill is grilled in the juices of its own fat so it stays moist and smell-free—delectable traits that carry into the Lamb Chops ($29.90) as well, easily the star of the menu and our personal favorite.
The drinks: The menu’s extensive list of juices, teas and Laban drinks leave no room for complaints. Try the hot Mint Tea ($4.50), a light but potent beverage that not only helps with digestion, but leaves a soothing warmth in the pit of your belly so you’ll continually be reaching for more throughout the meal.
Why you’ll be back: Doing away with unnecessary extravagances, the most appealing thing about Byblos Grill is its understanding that the personal success of a restaurant lies simply with the food, and doing it well. The heart behind Byblos translates sharply into the flavors of the food, and goes to show that nothing makes a meal like fresh ingredients prepared by hand, and with love. For a genuine taste of unfiltered Lebanese cuisine, a stop by 14 Bussorah Street is a must.
|Address:||Byblos Grill, 14 Bussorah St., Singapore, 199435 Singapore|
|Area:||Central, Arab Street and Kampong Glam|
|Open since:||June, 2017|
|Opening hours:||daily 11am-midnight|
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