Lent is now upon us and we’ve taken this opportunity to attempt to follow a vegan diet as often as possible. That is why you have been seeing a lot of vegan eats on our “TheUrbanPotato” Instagram stories.
Today we bring you a Lebanese restaurant that is not exactly new but most definitely worth a visit. Located in Mar Mikhael’s bustling street facing Radio Beirut, El Denye Hek serves traditional Lebanese dishes and than some! On our first visit we were expecting the usual menu items, little did we know El Denye Hek serves some authentic hardcore Lebanese dishes as well. We were pleasantly surprised to know they serve Makhlouta and Kalkas bel Adas among others.
El Denyeh Hek has three seating areas and is designed to make you forget where you are and take you back to a simpler time. There is a tree in the middle of the restaurant, green everywhere and the ceiling is made of glass which makes the place feel so spacious and lets in lots of natural light; you will get comfortable the moment you walk in, as if you were dining in your own garden… It’s a charming place with a warm and relaxing atmosphere, a true escape from the city right in the middle of Mar Mikhael.
In addition to the beautiful mountain-house like vibe, El Denye Hek has an ancient well you can walk into on a glass floor and look down to the seemingly bottomless pit.
If you enjoy having your fortune told they also have an awesome little cave all setup for mystical palm or coffee cup reading.
For our vegan experience we decided to order the Zaatar Saj, Lentil Salad, Fattoush, Hummus, Dlouh Selek, Fasoulya Arida, Batata w Kezbara and to our delight Kalkas Bel Adas.
The Zaatar Saj was really good, however make sure to eat it quickly while it’s still hot before the dough turns hardens and is no longer enjoyable.
The Lentil salad was just amazing with such fresh ingredients, definitely ordering it again.
There was a misunderstanding with the fattoush as we ordered it with debs el remmen on the side. We received it mixed with debs el remmen and an additional dressing on the side. What we wanted was a fattoush devoid of dressing and for us to put according to our taste, nonetheless, it was quite enjoyable. The presentation though needs a little work. It definitely tastes better than it looks!
These guys have this awesome option for cold mezze that allows you to order a mix of three miniature sized dishes. The three are set to be Keshek Akhdar, Dlouh Selek and Fasoulia Arida, but we asked to substitute the Keshek with Hummus.
The Dlouh Selek and Fasoulya Arida were delicious, perfectly cooked and marinated. The Hummus was addictive, we couldn’t stop dipping that bread in it. It’s one of the best we’ve had in Beirut, we prefer to order it plain without their usual pesto sauce.
Batata w Kezbara was a hit, the plate vanished pretty quickly. It wasn’t oily at all as it is in most places and the spice flavor was well balanced.
Unfortunately, our big disappointment was the Kalkas Bel Adas. The menu states it’s slow cooked Kalkas with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and lentils; what it fails to mention is that it comes swimming in olive oil! We tried to have some and could tell it was well made but after a few spoons we couldn’t help feeling nauseous as the taste of olive oil overpowered the dish. By the end of our meal the plate was virtually untouched but the waiter failed to ask the reason why as they should when seeing a plate intact.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We always enjoy coming to El Denye Hek, the Kalkas dish needs to be fixed the soonest. However they do serve some of the best cold and hot mezza in Beirut and are a perfect choice for lent friendly dishes.
Open daily from 10 am to 1 am
Check out their menu on Zomato