A colourful atmosphere, savoury meals and a fusion of culture, Lisbon gets up to date with Lebanese cuisine with its new address: Muito BEY.
In a modern setting, Muito BEY offers a Lebanese menu in the heart of the trendy neighbourhood Cais do Sodré. The numerous similarities between the two capital cities inspired Ezzat Ellaz, the entrepreneur behind Muito BEY. The weather first of all, which allowed him to find fresh local ingredients. The culinary tastes are also similar; a preference for lemon dressings, coriander, and some notes of garlic, but also the colours, sky blue, red roof tiles, sun and azulejos, the ceramic tiles adding a particular touch to the restaurant’s décor which was conceived by a Portuguese architect. Muito BEY is the bridge between ‘Muito’, from the Portuguese expression Muito Bom that means very good, and BEY the abbreviation of Beirut’s airport. On the menu feature tasty pastries; thyme manouché, cheese manouché or vegetarian and homemade bread, hot and cold mezzés, Chermandar, beetroot seasoned with tahini, Flaiflé Hamra or Labné Meklié and grilled skewers. The revisited traditional recipes are born from collaboration with Barbara Abdeni Massad, author of the cook book Soup for Syria. While 90% ingredients are selected locally, zaatar, sumac and other specialities are sourced from Lebanon and also used in cocktails with original recipes and names such Ahlan, Habibi or Badaro.
Ezzat Ellaz studied hotel management at the Ecole Hôtelière de Glion in Switzerland, and then pursued an international career in the Food & Beverage industry. He accumulated experience in the United Arab Emirates and Germany, then moved back to Lebanon and worked for five years in consulting, still in the Food & Beverage sector. His contribution to the creation of several restaurants across the Middle East fuelled his desire to open his own place. Passionate about Lebanese cuisine, he points out its versatility, which makes it adaptable to various concepts; from tapas, to fast food or luxury restaurants. Three years ago, Ezzat went on a vacation to Lisbon and noticed the growing dynamism of the city. He started looking into the project. He observed the habits of locals, where they like to go out, what they prefer to eat and what new restaurants are attracting clients in the city centre. In October 2015 Ezza moved to Lison. He found his location at the address of the old post office headquarters, in a once neglected neighbourhood that became in the past few years the IT address of the city’s nightlife. The restaurant now attracts a cosmopolite clientele delighted to find Lebanese cuisine in their city, a cuisine that they discovered through trips to other capitals, but also amateurs, curious to experience a taste of Lebanon.
Article originally published in L’Officiel Levant – March 2017 Issue