I love those days when family and friends unexpectedly come into town - and I love it even more when they offer to shout you lunch
Sunday was one of those days, and my favourite Aunty M was in town on her way back from Melbourne. With the sun shining hot, but the recent rain keeping everything cool - it seemed like the perfect day to hit Portside Wharf on the way back from the airport.
We walked aimlessly, checking out all the Restaurants before making our pick - I had read some good reviews about Mahjongg Cafe but when we got there it looked pretty plain, and it was at the back end of Portside, meaning no River Views. Convinced we could get a better offer closer to the water we decided on Byblos Bar, completely won over by the fluro orange table settings - so funky amongst the posh furnishings of Manx, Sono and the like...
The bar is stunning, very eclectic, trendy and plush, we were immediately impressed. Service was spot on, our waitress appearing out of no where with frosty glasses of water, menus and a massive smile. She was obviously an old hand - she knew the beer list off the top of her head, reccommended a fruity cocktail for Aunty M and pointed out the favourites on the menu.
With such a great start - Gorgeous view, fantastic bar, brilliant service - how could the food be so bad? But it was. And what made it worse - was today when I went to work and told everyone about it - the consensu was the same. "Oh yeah, GREAT cocktails, but you don't eat the food..." WTF?
We started with the Trio of Dips to share with Lebanese bread - Hommos, Baba Ghanouj and Labneh - the Hommos was delicious! The Baba Ghanouj tasted a little off, like they had used at least 1 eggplant that was past its prime... and the Labnah was waaaaaaay too lemony - I could feel my cheeks pucker with every dip.
The mains arrived and for the first time ever - our plates were left at least 3/4 full - that never happens in my family. I ordered the Pan Squid, Aunty M the Kebbi and hubby the Sambousek. My squid was fishy - I could smell it even before it was on the table, it was super tender which was nice - but have you ever tried to eat without smelling? The smell overpowered the dish, and I was struggling to swallow it.
Aunty M's Kebbi was hand shaped patties of lamb and mince, seasoned and filled with pinenuts. They were dense, heavy and very dry. I have the pastie's now just thinking about them.
Hubby got the best dish of us all and to hear him describe it, they "tasted like something out of an Indian Hot Box". Not exactly complimentary - but they were tasty, tastier than what I ordered anyway. Very greasy too, but I would trade them for the squid in the heartbeat!
After a less than appetising lunch there was no other option... we had to have ice cream - and where other than my new favourite ice cream: Movenpick.
The Verdict: Gorgeous Bar, Great Service, Stunning Views - Not a fan of the food.
My Recommendations: Enjoy the cocktails and the views but have dinner (or ice cream) elsewhere...
Contact: Byblos Bar