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Joz: A Fresh and Trendy Lebanese Eatery for the Young
I was eagerly waiting for Joz to open. An individual house nestled in Antelias’ inner road, this green building with high glass doors facades gave an insight to what’s inside… It looked like it had a lot of potential. I would drive by its location daily in anticipation of what this place may have to offer. A beautiful and catchy space they refer to as a Lebanese diner.
The first impression is great. A really beautiful piece of architecture where old and new blend beautifully in a square space. Concrete covers the floor with batches of old style tiles, light wooden tables fill in the space surrounded by old style chairs, a series of leather benches take over the left wall while individual black lights pend down from the ceiling.
The details are amazing... Burgundy panels cover the left side wall while the right side wall is a large glass facade opening up on the outside and the main facing wall is made of wood, tiny little blocks of wood one on top of the other.
The restaurant is divided in half by another long bench and you can enjoy a view on the kitchen from hole in the wall where the bar is.
A plate of Joz (walnuts) lands on your table as soon as you enter.
A small detail I liked: The benches are made of leather and look like stacked travel bags.
The menu: 4 colors, 4 sections on a wood board.
- Shared souls and appetizers
- Fresh salads
- Traditional wrap platters
- Fulfilling platters
- Savory desserts
- Cool beverages
The waiter approached us. I loved his clothes. Long sleeve sweater, a colorful apron and a subtle small black bow tie; very nice.
So we ordered:
- Labneh Bites LBP12,000: homemade goat cheese spheres topped with thyme and spicy olives. As good as it should be.
- Halloumi Wrap LBP10,000: traditional and heavenly taste of melted Halloumi cheese, topped with cherry tomatoes and wrapped in rhyme dough. Zaatar, aromatic and flavorful, a subtle crunch of the Markouk bread, melting and juicy Halloumi cheese; a superb sandwich.
- Thin dough bites LBP10,000: freshly brick oven baked. Sfiha baslbskiyeh, fatayer with thyme, fatayer keshek and rkakat. The rkakat we know served in a bed of Chips. Fresh, juicy and tasty. They are good.
- Kebbit Joz LBP10,000: mix homemade cracked wheat, walnut, potatoes and onion. Las good as it should be.
- Tabboulet Malfouf LBP6,500: an old fashioned salad originating from zahle. White cabbage, cracked wheat, onion and mint, with olive oil and fresh lemon juice dressing. Awesome! Ricky sliced cabbage with a mint flavor while the borghol add an interesting crunch. What a salad, what simplicity, what an enjoyable bite. Don't skip it.
- Joz Speciality salad LBP15,000: romaine lettuce, rocca, grilled Halloumi, grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, parsley, mint, radish, fresh green onion and wild rhyme, topped with Joz special dressing. Chunks of fried Halloumi with grilled chicken on a bed of fresh greens and a salad mix. A very big salad, tasty and enjoyable. A must order.
- Lebanese Burger LBP15,000: 200 grams chargrilled fresh ground beef topped with grilled onions, tomato, coleslaw, pickles, French fries and a ketchup and mustard spread. That's a good one indeed. A firm crispy European style bun filled with the burger ingredients and a thick juicy lightly red patty. Liked it and recommend it.
- Joz special shawarma LBP20,000: marinated traditional shawarma, slow roasted to perfection, wrapped in pita bread with grilled onions and tomato slices, chopped parsley and pickles, topped with sesame sauce. A new approach in shawarma. Charcoal grilled yet juicy, wrapped in toasted bread, generously loaded with all the vegetables. A huge plate served win hummus, tabboulet malfouf and French fries.
- Meat Escalope LBP22,000: super thin, a bit oily, too dry and in my opinion tasteless. The least I liked today.
I enjoyed dinner, let's see about dessert.
- Osmalliyeh LBP9,000: a round cylinder with two layers of fried vermicelli filled with ashta in the middle. Fresh and crunchy vermicelli, a fresh ashta but I'll add a bit more of sugar syrup. With all the desserts served maybe a bottle on the side would have been food.
- Mafrouket Ashta LBP9,000: a pistachio purée, or Mafrouket frstok with rose water topped with fresh ashta and decorated with pistachio slices. Super yummy.
- Mouhallabiya LBP8,000: served with slices of banana and ashta on top. Bravo, I'm a Mouhallabiya fan and have been searching for the finest around. This one is very good with equilibrated flavors and aromas. I'd make its consistency firmer.
- The Joz tart LBP8,000: I personally loved it. Fresh and crunchy dough topped with pastry cream with walnuts on top. Sugar powder adds the needed sweetness. Liked the custard feel of the cream, the size of this huge tart, the crunchiness of the walnuts and the sweetness. Bravo.
- Smoking is not allowed indoor and they do not have Arguile.
- Staff is Lebanese, young and fresh with good training.
- Plates are super and generously filled.
- Food is tasty.
- The garlic smells really strong.
- The plates are huge and hardly fit on the table.
Finally, a decent Lebanese diner that looks nice, it’s professional and offers tasty food and the best part is that it’s smoke free. Recommended for sure.