Al Mayass is a very popular Lebanese and Armenian restaurant in Lebanon but for some reason I hadn’t heard about it until it opened up here in Kuwait. Since I’ve been hearing only good stuff about the place I decided to try it out and see what it was all about.
Al Mayass is located inside the Shiik Resort which I think is a pretty strange location because I can’t imagine girls in bikinis walking by conservative families on their way into lunch not end up being a problem. Anyway once you walk into the place you will notice it doesn’t look very Lebanese but thats not a big deal since the colors and design of the place is leaning more towards Armenian. What would be a Lebanese look anyway? I don’t think we have one for restaurants.
I only found three problems with the Al Mayass and one popped up right at the beginning. Its not actually a problem more like a nitpick. I found the napkin too small to properly place over the lap. If I am complaining about napkins then you already have an idea on which direction this review is heading. The second problem followed nearly instantly, they don’t have soup on the menu. I was eager to start off with their lentil soup since it was cold outside and wanted something to warm me up. I even asked the waiter about it hoping they had a soup de jour which wasn’t on the menu but he apologized telling me they sadly didn’t have soup on the menu. I think this is a permanent thing and not just temporary which is disappointing.
We then went ahead and ordered a bunch of cold and hot appetizers including hummus, hummus with meat, labne with garlic, tabboule, batata harra (hot potato?), cheese beurek and ras asfoor which translates to bird head although the dish is actually meat chunks. For our main course we ordered chicken taouk and kabab with cherry.
One by one the dishes started to arrive and everything was tasting great. The hummus with meat was probably the best I had ever had and the batata harra was also really great although pretty filling. The cheese beurek is basically a cheese puff and from all the appetizers is the only one I wouldn’t order again. We ordered two cheese beureks at KD1.500 a piece but they were really tiny pieces, each the size of two matchboxes placed side by side. Actually now that I think about it I wouldn’t order the ras asfoor again since that dish cost KD5 and really wasn’t that great.
Once we were done with our appetizers our main courses arrived. The chicken taouk (KD4) was good and very tender but really didn’t grab my attention as much as the cherry kebab (KD4.5). I hadn’t had cherry kebab before but a friend of mine told me I would love it and he was absolutely right. The cherries turned an ordinary dish found everywhere into something much more interesting. The combination of kebab with the sweetness of the cherries resulted in a very flavored kebab which I would definitely want to have again.
By the time we were done with all the food we were pretty full but we still went ahead and ordered the Mayass knefeh which needed 15-20 minutes of preparation time. I guess the waiting period raised my expectations because usually my knefeh gets served instantly but to wait 20 minutes for one meant it had to be really special. It wasn’t, the knefeh tasted like regular knefeh although it did come in a different shape from the usual. My feelings are its just not worth the wait, if you want it make sure you order it while your main course is being served.
Overall I liked Al Mayass even though I am not usually a fan of Lebanese grill. I usually find Lebanese kebab and taouk dishes pretty dry and bland but the cherry kebab has sparked an interest with me. The Lebanese waiters were very friendly without being the talkative type and their service was fast. The lack of soup is a disappointment and the prices of two of the dishes I ordered were expensive. As you can tell though if I am picking on the size of the napkin its because there isn’t much to pick on. The place is great and is probably the only Lebanese restaurant I would want to visit again. The final score is a 4 out of 5.