A Little Jiggle in Lebanon ~
I didn’t mind the wait as the decor of this location was the nicest of the three I have been to. This use to be an old Greek restaurant. Towards the back of the building they kept the upstairs balcony and the indoor windows adorned with planters. Where we were seated it reminded me of an open court yard, especially with the vaulted glass ceiling. It is a shame they covered it up with a tarp. Hopefully when the weather is a lot nicer they will remove it and allow the sun to beam in, what a great dining experience that would make.
“Nuba” is the only Lebanon restaurant that I know of, so there isn’t really anything I could use to compare its quality and authenticity too. But based on its now four locations I would say they are doing well. The tiki themed one on Hastings at the Waldorf has closed down, but they still have their other locations at Yaletown, Gastown, and Main St. Lebanese food is known for being very healthy and there were very many vegetarian and vegan options available on their menu; perfect for many stereotypical Vancouverites. Or as in my case a good restaurant option if you have vegetarian friends in your party; and want a place that has meat dishes for you and more then just salad for them.
I had the “Lamb Belly”. When in doubt always get the lamb; it is delicious because it is one of the fattier cuts of meat, and it is something you will not ordinarily make for yourself at home. This was slow cooked lamb belly in sumac, parsley and garlic with a side of arugula salad coated in shallot dressing. The menu also mentioned that cherry tomatoes would be part of this plate, but alas I was disappointed to have none. The lamb belly was thick and layered like a cake made with fat, meat, and seasonings. Cutting into it was a challenge as the fate was so thick and rubbery that it jiggled. The taste was so rich that I couldn’t eat bite after bite. I needed the arugula salad to take away from the rich fatty taste and add a crispier texture to each of my bites. And when that stopped working I had to cleanse my pallet with hummus and pita after every bite of lamb. Eventually I had to cut away the fat and didn’t have much more to eat. Luckily I was already full from the lentils in our appies. I would not order this again and did not feel it was worth the $12 I paid for it. At least presentation was top notch.
“LambYakhne“; braised pulled lamb, hazelnut, toum sauce, pastry, watercress, and pickled mustard seed. My guest claimed this dish was too fancy for him. Despite him saying the taste was more complex then he is use to, he ate his plate clean along with the watercress he didn’t originally know what to do with. Like my lamb belly, you really needed the side veggies to help break up the heavy taste of the lamb meat. The pastry also helped to neutralize the salt from the lamb.
Would I go back? Yes. It is so hard to find good places to eat that offers meat dishes and enough vegetarian ones to keep your veggie friends happy. “Nuba” does a good job. I just wouldn’t order the lamb again. I feel “Nuba” specializes in vegetarian dishes and meat is an afterthought for them.
Would I recommend it? – Yes, especially this location. Good unique flavours, vegan friendly dining experience, a beautiful restaurant in an equally beautiful neighborhood, and live entertainment on selected day. Tonight was belly dancing. I got a sneak peak of the ladies in the washroom before they jiggled and shook on the floor. First the juniors and the seniors, literally. I just wished they travelled around the restaurant floor instead of just blocking up the entrance way.