Adriana Karembeu Beirut, Armenia, Armenian cuisine, Banirov Maamoul, Beirut, Charles Aznavour, Gemmayzeh, khachkhach kabab, Lebanese cuisine, Lebanon, Little Mother, Maamoul, Mante, Mayrig, Mayrig Lebanon, Moutabbal, Sou Boureg
‘A young girl on a long and lonely voyage, a beautiful stone house by the sea, and a book of fiercely guarded recipes. These are just some of the elements which compose the fascinating history of Mayrig.’ That’s how the people behind one of Beirut’s fine dining milestones describe their fascinating destination, Mayrig.
A Little Bit of History
It all started with a 3-year-old girl named Manoucheg, who like thousands of others, fled her mother country Armenia, to settle down in Lebanon, where she grew up and started her own family.
Manoucheg became a talented and famous cook, to the envy of her entire neighborhood. She would make exquisite dishes, that were tinged with the love, spices and aromas of her mother land.
In 2003, Aline Kamakian and Serge Maacaron decided to immortalize their grandmother’s extremely delicious and rich food, and share it with the world. So they recollected her recipes, and gradually established this renowned restaurant. They found themselves a very nice old traditional Lebanese house, and named it ‘Mayrig,’ which is an Armenian term of affection that means ‘Little Mother.’
Consisting of an ancient stone house at the more quiet, lower side of Gemmayzeh, the lively street at the far end of downtown Beirut, Mayrig never failed us. With its creative state of the art cuisine, its traditional & warm interior and table presentation, as well as its outstanding customer service, Mayrig keeps on being a leading destination for the locals and tourists alike, for the ‘common people’ (like myself :p ) and the famous, whenever they wanted to grasp a true Lebanese Armenian dining experience.
Mayrig, or the ‘haven of dining perfection,’ as food critics named it, offers a generous variety of traditional Armenian dishes, while borrowing from Lebanese and other mediterranean cultures. The plates are rich in middle eastern spices, freshly collected ingredients, and presented in delicately hand-made creations… All in a charming setting that brings on reminiscence of Beirut’s glorious days.
With the music of Charles Aznavour, who is a regular at Mayrig whenever he’s in Lebanon, Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, Julio Iglesias, Garou, and many other legendary artists amusing our ears, we tried a selection of their recommended dishes, with the help of a very friendly, polite and knowledgeable waiter.
Itch, the Armenian version of Tabouleh,
Moutabbal (photo on the right). Grilled eggplant and Tahina sauce dip,
Gdzou Patates: Crispy fried potato cubes fried in a mixture of hot spices, herbs and garlic,
Soujouk Fekhara, a true Armenian specialty. It consists of richly flavored slices of marinated Armenian sausages, combined with fresh tomatoes, all sizzling in a Terracotta pan, and
Sou Beureg (right-side photo), which is a delicacy that used to be made at special occasions only, due to its hard labor. It consists of layered pastry, stuffed with three kinds of local white cheeses.
Of course after the rich variety of appetizers we have selected, little space was left for a main course. However, we could never have passed Mayrig’s specialty, the extremely delicious KhachKhach kabab plate. It is made according to a special recipe, combining Kabab with fresh ripe tomatoes, with the adequate amount of onions and spices, all grilled over the fire.
By then, surely we could not accommodate any other bite, so we had to sacrifice the desert to some other time. However, the middle eastern generosity at Mayrig prevailed when we were offered a rich plate of specially made sweets, on the house, because it was St. Georges day. We had a bite each, & yum!!! A true grandma’s made delicacy!
Here are some other delicacies found at Mayrig:
A friend of Mayrig’s, and a faithful guest once said while describing their famous Maamouls:”My mom never gave me affection… Get me some cheese Maamouls for these are the true motherly love and affection…”
Finally, due to the success of Mayrig’s dining experience, it is now open in Jeddah, check out how beautiful it looks!