Located on Chehade Street in Achrafieh, La Menagerie, which literally means ‘a diverse collection of people or things’, is the brainchild of Walid Ataya, the owner of local favorites Bread Republic and The Wine Room. Ataya is testing a medley of ideas under one roof that otherwise might not be categorized together – think florist, a champagne bar, a cake bar, a kitchen and lighting boutique, and of course, a full service restaurant.
“We distilled these ideas into one concept that best summarized the environment I wanted to create,” said,” Ataya. Le Menagerie is seemingly unlike any other outpost before, although the food is an extension of Atay’s varied experimental cuisine that he serves at The Wine Room. “We’re going to change the menu weekly if not on a daily basis,” he said. “I designed the place so that every corner and every detail is an experience.”
Everything from the designer Italian chandeliers to the cutlery is on sale. The furniture selection is also carefully studied and available for custom orders from the supplier. Essentially you can grab a cake at the cake bar and walk out with the plate you ate in, plus a bouquet of flowers, all during one outing.
HERE’S WHY LE MENAGERIE IS A STAR
Taking nose to tail eating to heart, the menu is primarily made up of fish/meat dishes. Oxtail Stew, Wild Boar, Sweetbreads, Veal and revised seafood dishes will make the rounds according to availability and Ataya’s whim. It’s a restaurant that makes its point one dish at a time.
As with any new restaurant in Beirut, guests are clamoring to get a table so the house is full for dinner. Friendly staff and champagne make the wait bearable till your food arrives.
The Champagne Bar is currently serving Champagne J. Lassalle, a family-owned Champagne house in the village of Chigny-Les-Roses on the Montagne de Reims. Their twenty-eight-year tradition of “une femme, un esprit, un style” (one woman, one spirit, one style) have helped create classic vin de terroir that ages beautifully. A full wine menu and cocktail selection is available with names like Voltaire’s Dreams – a champagne and rum concoction.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Average check runs around USD 50 per person depending on your drinks selection. Considering you’re getting a hearty meal that’s probably hard to come by elsewhere, it’s worth every penny.
The eclectic mix of furniture and accessories from the modern leather lounges to the antique mother of pearl inlaid service station creates a home away from home feeling if you’re very well-travelled.