Semsom is the newest addition to the Sultanate’s restaurant scene with a promise of delivering “Lebanese Cuisine with a Twist”. So I visited this restaurant to explore the offerings; And… did it live up to its promise? A HUNDRED PERCENT!
Don’t you just love it when restaurants can walk the talk… the promised twist, was not only delivered but it was done in excitingly unexpected ways. The magic of Semsom lies in its ability to surprise your senses like never before! It is about doing a hundred little things right. Its about truly taking us on a culinary voyage.
The Hummus Trio
When the notoriously famous pink hummus (RO 2.1) was placed in front of me; my eyes instantaneously started feasting; followed shortly by my taste buds that went on a merry discovery ride. The tanginess from the sumac powder (tart red berries) and the freshness from the zaatar (thyme) blended in perfect unison with the creamy chickpeas. Drizzle some Olive oil (imported from Lebanon) over the hummus if you find the dip a bit too tart. (please note: I have been told tart n tangy are the predominant flavours in Lebanese cuisine)
The olive & sesame hummus (RO 2.1) was another personal favourite. Do sample this one and enjoy the delicate flavour profiles. It Is a must try.
Next on the menu was the hot appetizer chicken liver. I honestly liked this dish. It was hearty, tasty, packed with flavour and a richness, which I was not expecting at all. It’s not a dish you would find everywhere and it definitely is not a dish that everyone can get right. But Semsom does. They Nailed It!
Moving on… the Lamb Bread (Lahm b’Ajine RO 2.3)… I ate not one, not two but three slices… Do I need to say more???? The pastry was soft, the meat succulent and packed with oodles of fresh-burst in your mouth flavours.
The next dish is one of the Semsom favourites Fish Kebbeh (RO 2.9) – Apt for fish lovers and the not so enthusiastic seafood diners. Put your cutlery down, scoop up the mini parcels, bite into it and sup up the oozing sensationally juicy caramelized onions. For a second you might think there is nothing fishy about this dish, you are not hit by the clichéd ‘taste of the sea’. The flavours are masked and you unlayer it as you work your way through the crust, which is a dough made with fish and burgol mixture. Expected? Nah…totally Unexpected!
Now comes the big daddy of grills. Mixed Grills (RO 6.5) This was a true treat, a peek-a-boo kind of dish, as the succulent chicken grills were kept hidden by the colourful and tempting bread. Once the veil of bread was lifted, our curiosity was rendered speechless with the sheer sight of lined rows of grilled meat and chicken. Needless to say, I broke into an invisible happy dance. Grilled to Perfection.
It’s Dessert Time!
I generally brace myself as desserts are really hard for any restaurant. You either get it right or you don’t. There is no midway here. Just look at the pictures below, I am sure it speaks for itself. If it doesn’t speak to you, then read the captions.
Lebanese Pannacotta – Mhallabieh
Only legends can come up with something as yummy as this. This dish is special, as it is the owner’s grandma’s recipe. Cannot get more authentic than that. Do you know what orange blossom water tastes like? If not you don’t know what you are missing! And now you know where to find it.
Desserts are incomplete without a whiff of chocolate for some, hence this version of chocolate ice-cream with crispy flavoured vermicelli will truly leave you in a choco trance.
I nearly forgot, and that would have been a crime! Jelab – try this drink, it is a must, must must… (did I mention MUST) try… I think this could possibly be the drink of the Lebanese Gods! The floating pistachio and pine nuts make for excellent munchies after you slurp up the sweet, rose water flavoured ambrosia.
My verdict: A must try, leave all food prejudices aside and surrender yourself to the Semsom kitchen. The passionate owner Christine has made sure that you will be taken care of just as if you were a guest in her own home.
As they say in Lebanon 1000 Sahtein!