I told myself some time ago; when I finally decide to come out of hibernation and return to dining away from the sanctuary of my own home it needs to be an experience worthy of the (for me) momentous occasion.
I’m not sure if I am a bit of a germaphobe or if any readers out there share my reluctance to rush into what might be a measure of ‘pre-COVID’ normality but it was only last Saturday that I felt comfortable enough with the idea of a restaurant treat and I had my mental list of requirement to really feel at ease. I needed it to be al fresco and I hoped for all sensible measures to be observed.
Well, in short, Broadside Terrace – an outdoor (check one) ‘restolounge’ at Corinthia Hotel, St George’s Bay – measured up perfectly. It has an incredibly relaxed ambience and features an open-air kitchen. Guests can watch the chefs at work, creating mouth-watering food on an authentic woodchip grill.
My partner Mark and I were greeted warmly at the entrance and swiftly shown to our table and all of the staff were wearing facemasks (check two). The tables were spaced out with excess of two meters (check three). Menus were single use (check four). I was immediately feeling absolutely fine, even before I observed that tables were sanitised between sittings (check five).
The view out to the bay as night slowly crept in was wonderful and a welcome, refreshing breeze offered a lovely respite from the summer heat. I was given a blanket to use should I feel chilly – a great touch – but I didn’t need it. I surprised myself as I can feel cold at night when others are fanning themselves.
Our bubbly waiter explained how, with any main course, the meze come complimentary as a starter. For my main I ordered the oriental beef kebab and Mark ordered the 350 gramme prime beef ribeye steak (ordered… and served rare).
Of course, for us a meal at a restaurant isn’t complete without a bottle of wine and we chose a 10 year old Lebanese red called Ixsir, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Caladoc and Tempranillo grape varieties. A few fun facts; Ixsir comes from one of the highest vineyards in the world, the winery is located just outside Batroun, north Lebanon, its name comes from the Arabic word for ‘elixir’ and it was awarded ‘best grade for a Lebanese wine’ at Bordeaux’s La Semaine des Primeurs 2009.
Ixsir did not disappoint. Its bouquet was delicate with an oaky and fruity aroma. Complex notes included berries and a smokiness, and it was very smooth on the pallet.
It wasn’t long before our meze arrived; freshly made tandoori bread to dip into a choice of a spicy chili number (great for Mark, but a little fiery for my delicate buds), baba ganoush, hummus – both delicious – and probably the best tzatziki I have ever tasted. The attentive manager must have noticed how much we enjoyed the offerings and asked if we would like some more tandoori bread when the mains arrive. We couldn’t say no.
We find that a main course can be judged by how the level of verbal communication is affected. Especially with Mark. Good food tends to ‘almost’ silence him. Well, our table certainly did become very quiet when our main course arrived. My oriental beef kebab was delectable and Mark enthused about his beef ribeye steak (we gave each other a taster of our meat, so I totally concur).
The sides were ample and varied. Crispy roast potatoes (okay, you don’t know me and roast potatoes, but let’s just say I am a huge fan and these were perfect), a refreshing mixed salad and a bowl with bulgar wheat and lentils, particularly enjoyed by Mark.
I always leave space for dessert and I zeroed in immediately on the deep fried date fritters with vanilla ice cream. Mark isn’t a dessert eater, so passed and substituted it for a brandy instead (which he often tends to do). This is a pity as I missed the chance of trying a taster of a second dessert. This made me sad. For a micro-moment.
To round off the perfect evening I relaxed back and soaked in the ambience and enjoyed a cherry on my cake… a Blue Monday cocktail. Broadside Terrace has a great cocktail bar and I was looking forward to trying one of their creations from the moment we made our booking (in fact, I looked at the cocktails on their online menu and went knowing what I wanted). It was everything I had hoped for is made with Bombay gin, cherry brandy, fresh lemon juice, blue curacao and bitter lemon.
Q. Would we return to Broadside Terrace? A. In a heartbeat.