Lunch at Tawlet

Tawlet is yet another of Kamal Mouzawak‘s creations  and a must-stop on your foodie tour of Beirut’s restaurants. The concept of Tawlet is unique: give a chance to Lebanon’s artisan food producers and cooks from different regions and villages  to showcase their traditional dishes on a rotating basis. Every Friday morning, the menu (which varies daily) is published on the restaurant’s website.

Today, we had dishes showcasing the city of Tripoli and the surrounding villages  in the North of the country: we tasted a kibbeh stuffed with eggplant mousseouzé, (puff pastry stuffed with meat or chicken, rice and spices (a specialty from Tripoli), kafta in yogurt sauce, a wheat berry and chickencasserole (requiring 5 hours on the stove), a dandelion salad, a wild purslane and yogurt salad, a swiss chard and blackeyed pea stir-fry, several traditional desserts and of course some fresh fruit salad and cherries from Hammana.

Service is buffet-style and all-you-can-eat (from 1 to 4 PM) although  drinks (wine, arak, coffees) can be ordered.

At our communal table, Kamal, Nabeel, a journalist from the New York Times; Massimo, an Italian  press correspondent based in Cairo , visiting Beirut for a little stress relief (!!); Michael Karam, the author of a celebrated book on Lebanese winemaking, and Madeleine from the UK, representing Coco (PR).

Tawlet: +961 1 448 129, Mar Mikhael, Beirut, Lebanon

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48 Comments

  1. Posted June 15, 2010 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    i will keep that in my notes when I visit Beirut. It sounds a lot of fun.

  2. Joanne T Ferguson
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    G’day! Big thanks! I always enjoy following your blog and sharing my newly acquired ffinds with friends. I tried to click on the restaurant’s website and get an error message. Can you please update the link and or provide us with the URL? Thank you! Always curious to learn something new and am P-A-S-S-I-O-N-A-T-E about world cuisines. Thank you!

  3. Posted June 15, 2010 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    What gorgeous food! It seems to be a great place. I wouldn’t mind having lunch there…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure which is better – the communal table or the food! Bringing people together, that is the amazing power of Lebanese food!!!

  5. Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve already heard abt this place. Will pay it a visit when i go :)

  6. Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana,
    I loved this post and your previous one about Kamal. He sounds full of energy and positive ideas. And what excellent dining companions! I bet you the tales and anecdotes flowed.
    Keep those posts coming…
    Brian

  7. Posted June 15, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Quelle belle nourriture … et quelle diversité !!!

  8. Posted June 15, 2010 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    You’ve been in Lebanon a wee? No signs of jet-lag, you’ve continued the same blogging pace and from the smile on your face at the table…you’ve landed home, very content. Happy for your homecoming and for us with a “hands on” blog on the pulse of Lebanese cuisine.

  9. Posted June 15, 2010 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Awesome,
    I want your guide book when you get back. BTW, I noticed the wine bottles so I hope that was your stress relief! Have Fun,
    -Doc

  10. Posted June 15, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Lovely. This is a must. I will make my husband take me there when we go to Beirut. I hope to take a day to see the museums, so maybe we can fit our lunch in here.

  11. Posted June 15, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    love the foods on your table…they looks fabulous…enjoy reading your post every time…keep those post coming…:)

  12. Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    La prochaine fois, je t’accompagne.
    A bientôt.

  13. Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The food looks wonderful, but truthfully, all you can eat is a big problem for me– I always do eat all I can eat, and then i feel sick LOL.

  14. Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I am so excited you went to Tawlet, the food looks great. That confirms the glowing review Gastronomica has given to Tawlet.
    H

  15. Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    That kibbe is so cool-looking!

  16. Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Very neat restaurant. I would love to try the foods there. Okay I am going to live vicariously through you for the next few posts. I am loving this.

  17. Posted June 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    the food looks incredible, thanks for sharing your review, and great pic of the communal table..

    sweetlife

  18. Posted June 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Wat a delicious and tempting foods..beautiful restaurant indeed..

  19. Posted June 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely love the unique concept of this restaurant. It looks like it was a wonderful time!

  20. Posted June 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    You’re in Beirut!! Nice, good for you. Enjoy the food bounty and the gorgeous weather. Some of the foods you mentioned, I’m familiar with and some, I’m not. But when you said wild purslane, it struck a cord. I love purslane (considered a weed here in the US – I’m lucky enough to have tons of this “weed” growing in my garden). In Morocco, they make a side dish with it using all sorts of spices (cumin, paprika), lots of garlic, preserved lemons, fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley), olive oil and lots of olives. I just came back from visiting Morocco and of course, enjoyed this dish thoroughly (among many many others).

  21. Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Look like a wonderful restaurant. All you can eat! Now we’re talking!

  22. Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    What a fun and delicious looking lunch! So fun to be surrounded by friends and great food. You are so pretty in your photos :)

  23. Posted June 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    joumana everything looks delicious, a very unique concept for a restaurant! enjoying your recent posts :)

  24. Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong country. EGGPLANT MOUSSE! I’m amazed.

  25. Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    OH dis donc on rencontre des tas de gens qui viennent de partout à Beirut, c’est génial! En tout cas, moi je crois que j’adorerais la cuisine libanaise, c’est exactement ce que j’aime, ca semble un mixte entre la Meditérranée et l’Orient. Votre pain plat ressemble enormement au pain sarde, il pane carasau qui est tout fin et croquant. Enfin bref, les Arabes ont conquis la Sardaigne pendant de nombreux siècles d’ou les similarités culinaires :o)

  26. Posted June 16, 2010 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard of Michael’s book on Lebanese Wine Making so many thanks for mentioning it. I have ordered a copy from Amazon!

  27. Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    What a marvelous meal, Joumana! You look like you are in good foodie company too.
    I love the idea of a black bean stir fry and the eggplant mousse. Tawlet’s food looks scrumptious!

  28. Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Wonderful recipes! I will stick around .

    Have a great and blessed day!

  29. Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Kibbeh stuffed with eggplant mousse…now, that got my attention!
    Any chance you’ll be replicating this in your kitchen when you get back from vacation?
    Massimo, must have felt like he was in a type of Italian style ‘Trattoria’…with such charm and amazingly prepared casual menu. Everything looks like I would be overly satisfied with myself for picking this place…lucky you for having authentic Lebanese food…and served to you no less ;o) A good break from your kitchen too!
    Oh…how I wish to have been sitting right next to all of you ;o)
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  30. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a terrific and fun place!

  31. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    AYCD arak? Oh…you’re walking on dangerous ground, lol.

    Now I want to visit Lebanon! :)

  32. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Getting more and more jealous with each post!

  33. Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Toutes ces choses présentes à table ont l’air délicieuses!!

  34. Joumana
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    @Claudia: that is exactly what I am planning to do, and I am planning a trip and post a week on each one of the cooks/producers at Tawlet, with Kamal’s blessing! He will run the story on his site as well. Maybe next time, you can come to Lebanon!

  35. Posted June 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Je vais suivre ces billets libanais avec grande attention ! Tu sais que nous avons beaucoup de libanais, à Cannes … Et de très bons restos … D’ailleurs, ce soir, on va déguster un bon mezze dans l’un de ces endroits bénis ! ;o)
    Bises
    Hélène

  36. Posted June 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I have never seen anything like it. You look beautiful in the photo. The creamy soup – the meat on the salad – the pitcher – all unique. How I would love to be there one day…
    :)
    Valerie

  37. Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Everything looks absolutely amazing! I love the concept of this restaurant!

  38. john smith
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    wow that looks good

  39. SYLVIA
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I am taking notes in my notebook book, and naming the title, Joumanas inspired favorites from Beirut, One day when I go to visit I know exactly where to go eat, drink and party with my tour book. BTW the kibbeh with eggplant mousse is very appealing.

  40. Posted June 16, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a fun place with great food.
    Mimi

  41. Posted June 17, 2010 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Looks like you are having the best time! thanks for sharing with us!

  42. Posted June 17, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    good food, seems you had a great time…lovely pics..

  43. Posted June 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    What a fun post, I love your photos and it looks like everyone is enjoying their delicious meal!

  44. Posted June 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Great food! I’d love to visit this restaurant one day.

  45. Joy
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Wow my mouth is watering … the food looks absolutely fabulous especially the ouze. Beautiful pictures :)

  46. SUZANNE PACKER
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:15 am | Permalink

    Kamal, good morning. Are you interested in Lebanese chefs from New Zealand and Australia doing a celebrity dish in your restaurant.???? We will be in Lebanon from about 18th July till 30th August. I truly enjoyed the article written about your restaurant in Bourj hammoud – a place close to my heart and as a Kiwi, lived there many years ago. Your caring attitude towards preservation is also close to my heart, as a poet who has written much about Lebanon. Either way I hope to meet you whilst in Lebanon. Cheers Suzanne

  47. Sabine jabaji
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    We were here today with the Swedish staff, the food was great, bit the service was the best!
    Thank you so much
    We had a great journey

  48. Joumana
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    @Sabine: Glad you had a good time!

12 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Anthony Bourdain Taste of Beirut New York Times Janet Helm likesSocial RDCreate your Like Badge Food & Nutrition News [...]

  2. By Wines of Lebanon by Michael Karam on August 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    [...] am a wine ignoramus; it just so happened that  I had lunch with Kamal and his guests at Tawlet recently; a man with a British accent sitting on my left was introduced to me as  Michael [...]

  3. [...] Kamal Mouzawak was describing a dessert his grandmother used to make, a sort of pudding made of rice and covered with walnuts and syrup. He was getting so lyrical about it, I was fascinated. I was picturing a grandma, wearing a big bun and an apron, stirring and stirring rice in a big pot until it was thick;  letting it cool outside in the terrace, ladling it out to her grandchildren, with the walnuts and syrup on top for a special treat. [...]

  4. [...] is amazing what a good meal can do. I find myself in Tawlet Restaurant, owned by Kamal Mouzawak. Friend and connoisseur of the Arabian cuisine Merijn Tol introduced [...]

  5. [...] am a wine ignoramus; it just so happened that  I had lunch with Kamal and his guests at Tawlet recently; a man with a British accent sitting on my left was introduced to me as  Michael [...]

  6. [...] Kamal Mouzawak was describing a dessert his grandmother used to make, a sort of pudding made of rice and covered with walnuts and syrup. He was getting so lyrical about it, I was fascinated. I was picturing a grandma, wearing a  bun and an apron, stirring and stirring rice in a big pot until it was thick;  letting it cool outside in the terrace, ladling it out to her grandchildren, with the walnuts and syrup on top for a special treat. [...]

  7. By Sprouted fava casserole (Foolyieh) on February 6, 2013 at 12:21 am

    [...] had lunch with Kamal Mouzawak at his Tawlet restaurant recently; while we were on the topic of his exquisite cookbook, he let it slip that the [...]

  8. By Empowering Syrian women on May 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    […] baked on a saj oven, the best in town). I have savored traditional rural dishes at his eponymous Tawlet restaurant, both in Beirut and in Ammiq (Bekaa Valley). I have gone on interesting day-trips […]

  9. […] had lunch with Kamal Mouzawak at his Tawlet restaurant recently; while we were on the topic of his exquisite cookbook, he let it slip that the […]

  10. By Taste of Beirut – Empowering Syrian women on September 6, 2014 at 2:44 am

    […] baked on a saj oven, the best in town). I have savored traditional rural dishes at his eponymous Tawlet restaurant, both in Beirut and in Ammiq (Bekaa Valley). I have gone on interesting day-trips […]

  11. […] am a wine ignoramus; it just so happened that  I had lunch with Kamal and his guests atTawlet recently; a man with a British accent sitting on my left was introduced to me as  Michael Karam, […]

  12. […] Kamal Mouzawak was describing a dessert his grandmother used to make, a sort of pudding made of rice and covered with walnuts and syrup. He was getting so lyrical about it, I was fascinated. I was picturing a grandma, wearing a  bun and an apron, stirring and stirring rice in a big pot until it was thick;  letting it cool outside in the terrace, ladling it out to her grandchildren, with the walnuts and syrup on top for a special treat. […]

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