In the heart of south Lebanon, lies a famously known restaurant called Al Mokhtar.
Al Mokhtar is literally translated to “The chosen one” in the Lebanese system, he is a person that the villagers choose to keep track of the population -somehow, a mayor -. This wise man traditionally with the famous Tarboosh and pomegranate stick, is the typical Lebanese figure to whom one should look up to and resemble.
Even if that description is about a man, Al Mokhtar Restaurant fits these words. I had the pleasure to meet Ramy, A Mokhtar’s manager, and the owner’s son. A young man, with a fresh spirit, down to earth and of course a foodie. He made sure to let me know that all the ingredients used in the making of Al Mokhtar menu are fresh and homegrown on the farm near the restaurant.
The tour starts with the many spaces available for one to choose the mood he wishes his meal to be served in. Every corner is filled with a small antique detail along with the green scenery which is a must in every Lebanese garden.
Every Lebanese feast has to debut with the traditional Mezza. From goat cheese to stuffed eggplants -no need to remind you that all the above are homemade in the Mokhtar garden- all the Lebanese small and endless plates are somehow your “amuse gueule” before the main dish makes it to the feast.
Now, to the specialité – Cherry Kafta- An amazing terracotta pan arrives at the table. Before you can see what’s inside, a sweet smell hits you. And then, a sizzling red glaze embracing some Kafta meat will make you want to dig in and experience that sweet and savory combination.
Of course, no Lebanese feast ends without pleasing your sweet tooth. Al Mokhtar offers various jams and marmalades. From Bitter orange to dates and even Jujuba these homemade treats may surprise you with a few almonds or walnuts. YUM!
Last but not least, the Turkish coffee will be waiting for your palette to be cleansed. The cardamom aftertaste makes all the difference and kick starts the digestion process – much needed-.
From farm to plate, Al Mokhtar restaurant makes sure all ingredients are handpicked and fresh. All plates are cooked with love and by the traditional recipes which makes it the ultimate southern experience.