From Beirut to Monte-Carlo, hearty cuisine with flavors that touch the senses is coming to the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo with the opening of the emblematic Lebanese restaurant Em Sherif. Located in place of the former Côté Jardin, and more recently Ômer, the terrace with a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean is the sublime decor of this new address.
In Beirut, Em Sherif (which means Sherif’s mother) is an institution imagined by Mireille Hayek who first cooked for her beautiful tribe of four children (including Sherif). Twelve years ago, she wanted to create an establishment that resembled her, with generous and sincere family cuisine. The success was immediate, and the concept was widely and quickly acclaimed throughout Lebanon and the entire Middle East: from Qatar to Kuwait via Dubai. Recently, openings are linked in Europe, first in London at Harrod’s, in Monte-Carlo a few days ago, and perhaps soon Paris…
It is the young and talented Yasmina Hayek (Mireille’s daughter) with a brilliant career, who takes the reins of the Monegasque address. She begins to move towards medicine and science, but immersed in the world of the art of hospitality from her family, she changes paths and decides to take care of others through the pleasures of food and sharing. She trained at the Paul Bocuse Institute and with Michelin star chefs and world’s famous restaurants such as Mathieu Pacaud, Jean-François Piège and Geramium*** in Denmark. The mother and daughter have together imagined the menu with dishes specially created for Monaco to bring authenticity and tradition, with a more local vision in order to satisfy tastes by using products from the region, such as the Yalanji where the leaves vines are replaced by chard leaves or Samak Nayy (tangy sea bream carpaccio) or Siyyadiyeh (whole steamed sea bass stuffed with caramelized rice with onions and aromatic herbs).
The tasting menu, which twirls like a ballet with enchanting and gourmet names, is certainly the perfect match to know and taste the happiness of Em Sherif. It all starts with the mezze (which means flavor) in two sequences: cold, then hot. The dazzling white Labneh (reminiscent of the white background of the Lebanese flag) is accompanied by raw vegetables in the idea of a bagna cauda and reveals zaatar (condiment of spices, aromatic herbs such as thyme and seeds such as sesame) between milky sweetness and delicate strength: a perfect appetizer accompanied by Raki (aniseed drink). Hummus Snoubar fascinates with its velvety, smooth and delicate texture, the chickpeas are peeled by hand to achieve finesse and smoothness, like a Robuchon puree.
Then, everything accelerates, the small plates arrive from all sides and give you this terrible desire to taste, to pick, to share, to dip the homemade bread served warm. Hands exchange these delicious dishes with good humor and nonchalance: Fattoush, Mutabbal, Briwat Jibneh, Musakhan Djeij, Berghoul Banadoura…. the Fattet kraydiss (sautéed prawns, yogurt and kadaif) might make you lose your reason for wanting to keep it to yourself.
The Samak Tajine (sea bass fillet with citrus fruit and kumquat) served lukewarm turns out to be dizzying with delight.
To follow, the Tebbekh and the Mechwi show you with confidence that Lebanese cuisine is not limited only to mezzes, but much much more, such as Kharouf: lamb shank confit in a perfect filigree of cinnamon and a juice infused with herbs which allows the slamming freekeh (green durum wheat with a smoky and slightly sweet taste) to blossom in the mouth, reminiscent of the flavors of a Kibbeh (an elongated ball stuffed with meat and coated in craked bulgur). The Farrouj, a marinated cockerel, is wonderfully « juicy » and soft as rarely, highlighted with a hint grilled on the fire.
The sweets of the Helo are a balanced tribute without excess sugar to this much adored score. The Paris-Brest thus becomes Beirut Monte-Carlo with fresh date cream infused with black tea, the pistachio Baklava and its pistachio ice cream is airy and makes you crack with the truth of its flavor and the Nammoura Hamod is ideal freshness with its subtle Menton lemon semolina cake, lemon jam, lemon sorbet and candied lemons.
The service, carefully orchestrated by Salah El Kadri, is discreet and friendly at the same time, with the sweet pleasure of pleasing.
The wine list offers a small selection of Lebanese wines and high-end bottles from France.
Em Sherif Monte-Carlo at the Hôtel de Paris tells a beautiful story, one of a family with a desire for the good, the beautiful and the love of sharing around their table to a conviviality that it is wonderful to experience.
« Beirut My Love – Monte-Carlo Mon Amour »
Mezze €12 to €38 – Dishes and Grills €30 to €130 – Desserts €16 to €23
Tasting Menu 140€
Place du Casino, Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
+377 98 06 88 75