Situated right on the trendy and artsy Mar Mikhael main road (aka Rue d’Armenie), Les Fenêtres brings the style of the grand boulevard cafes of Paris and the grand brasserie’s of Europe to one of the most frequented streets of Beirut. Set on the first floor of a beautiful and traditional old Lebanese building from the 1920s, the locale has been meticulously restored to its former glory.
Stepping through the doors is like stepping back in time... the dark wood marble-topped tables, leather banquette, lace net curtains that adorn the imposing windows, grand wood and marble bar, and the mellow lighting are evocative of mid-20th Century Paris.
The sculpted balcony that hangs over the main road has an ambiance influenced by the mood of the numerous little bars that line the street below. To the rear of the brasserie, a back garden terrace lined with bushes and dotted with trees is an urban escape, quiet but for the chatter of customers and the clatter of cutlery.
Les Fenêtres is the latest project by Ronald Homsy, a hotelier graduate from Glion in Switzerland who has created numerous, well known hospitality projects locally and abroad (Dubai, London, Cannes, St Tropez) during his career so far. Through his company Forte Holding sal (www.forteholding.com), Ronald Homsy and his wife Nadine Papadopoulo have created and developed Les Fenêtres, a project that has been a year in the making and is managed by Forte Holding sal - no doubt another success story to add to his portfolio.
When asked about the name Les Fenêtres, Nadine Papadopoulo said: “From the street, our first view of the brasserie is the three imposing windows. There i s also a prose poem by the French artist Charles Baudelaire that is called Les Fenêtres. In it Baudelaire describes the life that one can imagine taking place through a window. He uses the poignant sentence: Vit la vie. Meaning life lives. These two words, I believe, are the spirit of our brasserie.”
Designed by Nadine Papadopoulo, Les Fenêtres serves as an ideal place for brunch, lunch, dinner, or simply an afternoon snack or tea. This chill out place offers a brasserie-style menu with a selection of classics; some of the star dishes to sample include the Shnitzel of Veal or the Steak Diane with its rich mushroom sauce. The ‘Le Fish and Chips Anglais’ is also a big winner - traditional and classic, a battered piece of fresh Atlantic cod is served with chips, mushy peas, and malt vinegar. As for brunch, The Eggs Benedict or Steak Tartar are big hits too. No meal is complete without a good dessert, and at Les Fenêtres, the choice is extensive from the delicious Chocolate Soufflé to the Sticky Toffee Pudding. An impressive collection of carefully selected local and international new and vintage wines are also a great accompaniment to the culinary adventure of Les Fenêtres.