Tmarbouta: Worth the hype

For about a month now friends have been raving about Tmarbouta, a new cafe in Hamra.  New cafes and pubs presently are about a dime a dozen in Hamra so to be honest I more or less chalked this up as an “okay, I’ll pass by someday” but wasn’t going to aggressively pursue a visit - if it happened it happened.  This morning was spent proctoring SAT Subject Tests, akin to standing in a corner for hours on end- monotonous, especially on a sun washed Saturday.  And post-proctoring the last thing I wanted to do was go home to the mound of dishes and other chores so instead took the excuse to draw my own conclusions about Tmarbouta. In short: ♥. (To digress into PNW speak for a minute… If Yahala and the Pearl had a love child, it would be Tmarbouta; delicious Lebanese food in a tranquil, modern-ish setting.)

Tucked back in a shopping complex, the first glimpse is of a full book case and quiet inside seating area that flows into an open bar and floor to ceiling windows looking on to the back patio, a tranquil space despite the center-of-Hamra noise factor (Dar definitely has the corner market on quiet perfection). The food was good and reasonably priced and despite slightly shoddy service (when there are four tables all looking expectantly towards the wait stand in hopes of getting the bill or placing an order it’s not the time to be on your phone) the overall experience was lovely, and yes, I’ll go back, especially during the winter months (while Bread Republic and Dar, other favorites, are fabulous when the sun is out, they lack Tmarbouta’s airy interior space).

My simple meal was grape leaves, kibbe, and lemonade with a slice of Lone Star carrot cake as an extra treat.  Hands down the best kibbe I’ve had, the grape leaves were incredibly tasty and would have been ideal for sharing, and Lauren’s cakes are always splendid (Beiruti readers take note- she does all the baking for Tmarbouta, even more of a reason to pass by!). Lovely.