November 13, 2016 Lebanon Middle East

A Comparative Review: Grilled Chicken for Lunch: 4 Places, 1 Winner

The comparative series are a set of reviews I'll be publishing from now on. When I feel like having an enjoyable meal, I'll be ordering the same item from three to four different places for a constructive comparison... Today, let's enjoy lunch and eat some chicken!

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Chicken, charcoal grilled, souvenirs of my childhood and probably yours; waiting in line on Sundays to get this juicy chicken grilled on hot charcoal and strong fumes... The smell of it, the ambiance of the street eatery up the village in Keserwan are things I still remember to date. Today, in a busy world, things have changed, chicken is handled differently following strict food safety standards. This Sunday we had it delivered!

Four places, 1 verdict. Feeling like having a flavorful and healthy lunch, how about some grilled chicken in the Metn area (Mtayleb)? "Dar El Beik", "Hawa Chicken", "Deek Matic" and "Deek Daddy" are under review here. Hawa Chicken for the name and well regarded as the country's chicken supplier, Deek Matic for its trendy decor, Deek Daddy the newbie of Antelias and Dar el Beik, a well regarded diner in Mtayleb for a few years now.

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I ordered one grilled chicken, one coleslaw salad and one fries. PS: You know I'm intolerant to garlic so let's hope I won't feel sick afterwards.

  • "Dar el Beik" arrived first, a record breaking delivery of 9 minutes only with hot and crunchy fries like I've never received as a delivery, a grilled chicken served in a pizza box and a generous coleslaw salad. Smells a bit garlicy but not too much. A professional and welcoming staff, a price tag of LBP29,000 and no delivery charge.
  • "Deek Matik" arrived second with 29 minutes of delivery time. Hot and crunchy fries, a fresh smell of herbs and thyme, grilled chicken served in a carton box, coleslaw and an open box of fries like the ones at Mc.Donald's. Deek Matic charges LBP1,500 for delivery and gives you a complementary box of pickles. Total is LBP30,500.
  • "Hawa Chicken" arrived 1 hour and 10 minutes after we ordered. LBP24,000 plus LBP2,000 delivery charge. Let's start by the delivery person, a cheap bag one takes with him for a picnic, paper bags wrapping the food, a carton box and a bill that's teared apart in pieces. First impression is shocking. A box of fries, two bags of pickles and a watery coleslaw.
  • "Deek Daddy" arrived 1 hour and 35 minutes after we ordered. Being the cheapest in price, they are loaded with orders and asked for an hour delivery time which was exceeded. Order arrived hot, a hot chicken, hot fries and a hot coleslaw since it was in the same bag as the chicken. A gentle delivery person... and we were even offered the coleslaw. All of this for only LBP17,000 with no delivery charge.

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Presentation and Packaging:

  • "Dar el Beik": a pizza box hosting a big sized chicken, a Lebanese fries box, a plastic coleslaw box. No cutlery set sent. If I wasn't at home I would have eaten with my hands.
  • "Deek Matic": carton packaging for a smaller chicken, a fries box like for fast food, a round plastic box for the salad, pickles, Heinz ketchup and a cutlery set.
  • "Hawa Chicken" cheap, unprofessional with delivery drivers who don't take care of their delivery package. A carton packaging like a mini pizza box, Hawa packaging for garlic and ketchup and a bag of pickles.
  • "Deek Daddy" nice packaging, a burger box for a generous portion of fries, a large box for a big chicken, free pickles and the coleslaw.

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The fries:

  • "Dar el Beik": loved them! Good quality, good oil, good taste.
  • "Deek Matic": a bizarre smell but a good texture and acceptable taste.
  • "Hawa Chicken": extremely cold but very soft with a firm and hard crust. I'm sure these were good when fried.
  • "Deek Daddy": as good as fries should be for delivery, warm and soft, not crispy and not too enjoyable but good enough. A large portion for only LBP3,000.

Coleslaw:

  • "Dar el Beik": contains carrots, its tender, feels light, has no added sugar and doesn't feel commercial at all. I never mention such incidents because it can even happen at home... Unfortunately this is the second time we receive a hair in their salad; immediate action needed!
  • "Deek Matic": cut in small pieces, it's hard to eat, mayonnaise is creamy and feels heavy, it doesn't contain carrots and feels too commercial.
  • "Hawa Chicken": I personally would kick the chef out! A watery sauce covering the salad, the photo says it all, chunks of cabbage and no taste. Couldn't be cheaper than this!
  • "Deek Daddy": not my kind of coleslaw, too much mayonnaise and unfortunately I tried it warm which is close to being dangerous for a mayonnaise.

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The Chicken:

  • "Dar el Beik": a big portion of chicken, a juicy chicken that's not complicated, garlic spread is on the skin - which you can order without - leaving the heart juicy and tasting of chicken. No herbs, no complication, no coloring. Loved it! It's the only one of the four which can be described as "tasty".
  • "Deek Matic": a smaller portion, chicken brushed and marinated in spices and oil, an oily feel, dry chicken, unpleasantly dry, marination doesn't add value and the chicken quality is not the finest out there. This chicken is fatty, heavy and not something I'll be craving for lunch. Out of the four, it's the only one that's not prepared well.
  • "Hawa Chicken": let me introduce you to the driest chicken of all. The driest chicken anyone can ever imagine cooking. No smell, no aromas, no marination, a very good quality of chicken which one can use for cooking but unfortunately too dry to eat. I'll be using it for "Rizz 3a Djeij" tonight.
  • "Deek Daddy" a reasonable portion and very good quality chicken. The smell is appealing, charcoal is smelled and felt, chicken with a white heart, juicy, tender and surely recommended for the price paid. The cheapest of all, good quality and with a clean flavor.

Chicken price: 

  • "Dar el Beik" LBP22,000
  • "Deek Matic" LBP22,000
  • "Hawa Chicken" LBP18,000
  • "Deek Daddy" LBP14,000

If one can do it at LBP14,000, calculate the profit others are doing.

Grades:

  • Presentation and portion size /10: "Dar el Beik" 8, "Deek Matic" 7, "Hawa Chicken" 2, "Deek Daddy" 7
  • Color, shape, smell /10: "Dar el Beik" 8, "Deek Matic" 5, "Hawa Chicken" 7, "Deek Daddy" 7
  • Delivery time /10: "Dar el Beik" 10, "Deek Matic" 8, "Hawa Chicken" 4, "Deek Daddy" 1
  • Juiciness and freshness /10: "Dar el Beik" 9, "Deek Matic" 5, "Hawa Chicken" 2, "Deek Daddy" 8
  • Taste /40: "Dar el Beik" 35, "Deek Matic" 8, "Hawa Chicken" 27, "Deek Daddy" 31
  • Fries /10: "Dar el Beik" 8, "Deek Matic" 5, "Hawa Chicken" 1, "Deek Daddy" 3
  • Coleslaw /10: "Dar el Beik" 9, "Deek Matic" 6, "Hawa Chicken" 1, "Deek Daddy" 3
  • Value for Money /10: "Dar el Beik" 7, "Deek Matic" 2, "Hawa Chicken" 5, "Deek Daddy" 10

Total /110: "Dar el Beik" 94, "Deek Matic" 46, "Hawa Chicken" 49, "Deek Daddy" 70

The winner is: "Dar el Beik" for its unique taste despite being more expensive than the others.

Notes:

  • "Dar el Beik" is good on all fronts. It clearly shows they know what they're cooking.
  • "Deek Matic" needs some attention, a different chicken supplier and less marination. Chicken is usually considered a light meal but surely not at Deek Matic. The portion looks smaller than others.
  • "Hawa Chicken" great quality of chicken, clearly better than all the rest but unfortunately everything else is bad, I'm sure it's a question of staff and lack of training. Cheap packaging, cheap delivery, bad handling, over cooking and long delivery time.
  • "Deek Daddy": good quality and price; if only the coleslaw could be improved, I'm sure Deek Daddy wouldn't leave any place for competition to sell chicken. A place with potential.

Ordering chicken for delivery... now you know what to do!

 

Suitable For: Get it Delivered

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