2/F Design Center of Cebu, AS Fortuna St. cor. P. Remedio St., Mandaue, Cebu
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- Middle Eastern
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What comes to your mind when you hear about Lebanon? Others would say it's a name of a country, whereas others would wonder where in the world it is. In the south of the Philippines, Lebanon just landed in Cebu.
Having the opportunity to join my first ever #looloorendezvoos - I was able to go food traveling with the |ooloo crew (who flew all the way from Manila) and savor the awesomeness of Lebanese/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine, Beqaá, has to offer.
Basically, what does a Mediterranean cuisine compose of? Mediterranean cuisine spans from a wide varity of culture & historical regions. Most of the foods are either grilled or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream. Herbs and spices are also infused in the manner of cooking. However, Lebanese cuisines are a rich mixture of a variety of ingredients and is dictated by the seasons.
"Beqaa is a Lebanese kitchen where contemporary Middle Eastern cooking meets traditional flavors. The menu features a wide array of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian mezze, a full selection of kebabs and main dishes."
The dining area welcomes you with it's modernized interiors, dim lighting and hardwood floors.
The savory menu prepared for us were all so good. Thank you Chef Jason for having us over. It's a privilege to be able to write about what Beqaá can offer.
Beqaá welcomes guests with treats like fore glimpse of what they have prepared for you. I particularly like the pomegranate shot. Following this, we were served with the following as a sort of appetizer:
️ Mouhamara (toasted walnuts and fire roasted peppers) I really enjoyed this dip. It goes well also with the lamb as a dipping sauce or with the pita bread as well. I also found out from one of the servers, that is one of the best selling dip, however this is seasonal because they get the peppers all the from Baguio. So better to ask the servers if this available.
️ Labneh (strained yogurt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and za'atar) My second most loved dip. The hint of yoghurt and garlic adds some zing in the dip.
️ Baba Ghanoush (eggplant puree, smoked paprika and tahini)
As we await for the other dishes, we were greeted by Chef Jason Hyatt who welcomed us to his new restaurant joint. He said that he usually shys away from mingling with the guests, but his actions proved otherwise. I learned so many things about his passion, vision in the providing delectable food to Cebu. A longtime staff who worked with him, mentioned that Beqaá is one the chefs' favorite and he usually can be seen in the area
As soon as the rest of the dishes arrived, I remember myself beaming with delight and excitement as the colorful dishes were laid infront of us. We started taking photos of every dish just to get the shot that would best describe how awesome the food is.
️ Arnabeet (crispy cauliflower, tahini, spicies and chili) A healthy version of chicken. Who would have thought that crispy cauliflower could taste so good? This could be a way to get the kids appreciating vegetables again!
Middle Eastern cuisine wouldn't be complete without some kebabs and lamb. The highlight of the dish that we all enjoyed was the Shish Taouk (chicken marinated in creamy yoghurt and garlic) & Kafta (spice minced lamb and beef with onions and parsley) both served with french fries. 🏻
To end this hearty and savory dinner, we enjoyed two kinds of desserts.
Pistachio cream brûlée & Muhalabiya (coconut flavored panna cotta Lebanese style)
If you appreciate and enjoy eating, make sure to visit Beqaá. Offers healthy, vegetarian dishes plus it's a pork free restaurant
Thank you to the awesome |ooloo crew - Peanut D Odell R and Roegan T
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Design Center along the AS Fortuna stretch is where expensive Architecture brands are located; I went here long time ago to check on a contemporary exhibition area that featured novice or starting artists (totally unrelated) I went to inquire. Haha! But they're already replaced by a different establishment now. So...
Apparently, the very reason why I suddenly found myself in this area is because of Beqaa through
|ooloo (which would have been my content of review if I was able to join the Cebu meet up last week, May this testimonial serve as my entry too hehee) -- and this was an important dinner with a friend who is very close to me
First word: YU!!. Middle word: UMM! Last word: YUMMY!
Summation: YUMMMEEH! (sounds blah haha)
We ordered the Charcoal Grilled Kafta - spice minced lamb and beef with onions and parsley (very heavy in the stomach) but really really passable for someone (like me) who craves mixed and a dash of pepper in all flavors.
Falafel Royale with Hoummos - Chickpea Puree, Tahini and Lemon served with Tabboule -- made of bulgur, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley, onions and garlic...a delightful play of sour and minty tastes at the tip of your tongue!
For fluid I had a glass of Calamansi Juice (assuming it will filter all the extra pound i'm gonna gain in this setting ha ha!)
We were too caved in our conversation we were supposed to transfer to Tavolata for dessert but last call for orders on both restaurants at 9:45pm so we decided to stay instead and ordered Mouhalabieh which basically is a Lebanese version of Pannacotta and Cappuccino, as usual, Coffee for me.
The interiors a bit dark and luminaires may need additional lux so maybe for a 4 eyed monster like yours truly can better see haha but with palatable food on your table surely that's least of your concern. A good night and a fine way to define a week full of fluctuating emotions, beautiful and dire.
Uhmm.. I came home with full stomach. So..Hello weekend!
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First impression lasts as what most people say. Aside from Shawarma, I don't really have any idea of what Middle Eastern food taste like but after attending my first looloo rendezvoos (thanks to the ever cool looloo team who flew to Cebu to meet us) now I can say that such kind of food cuisine is a must-try not only for food enthusiasts out there but generally to everyone. If you happen to be adventurous and is looking for a unique and an exquisite experience when it comes to food, Beqaa offers an authentic Middle Eastern cooking using herbs, spices, and aroma generously that gives a long-lasting flavorful and delicious taste, it'll make you feel as if you're vacationing in Middle East. Aside from the very intimate feel that Beqaa has, the restaurant offers a healthy, rich in flavor, smell-enticing food because of the kind of aroma it has that makes you wanna dig in right then and there. During that sponsored event, I have had quite a number of favorite dishes that I will sure wanna taste again.
For their appetizers, Mouhamara makes a delicious spread or dip. It has a wonderful earthy flavor with a balanced taste of both sweet and spicy and the wallnut on top of it makes perfectly sets my mood. Another spread that I love from them is that of Labneh most probably because I love yogurts and it is made from one together with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and za'atar. Their Arnabeet came as a surprised to everyone including me. The presentation looks simple but the taste of this deep fried, crispy cauliflower with tahini and spices is very delightful, it indeed was popular that night. As for the main courses, Shish Taouk was my most favorite. Though I have some allergic reactions to chicken, this one is a great exemption. Marinated in a creamy yogurt and garlic and speaking of yogurts, no biased about my fascination to it, this dish taste 'LOVE'. Love because while writing this I can still imagine how soft and flavorful it is inside my mouth and love because this is going to be the very reason why I'll comeback to Beqaa or hold my future events in this wonderful place. As for the other two main dishes, Kafta, the one in spice minced lamb and beef with onions and parsley is quite good though I find it a little salty and the Chicken Tikka Masala is a must-try too. After our sumptuous taking of the main courses, came my most favorite part of the dinner. I love sweets and I was excited upon seeing two types of desserts being served, the Pistachio cream brûlée and Muhalabiya (coconut flavored panna cotta Lebanese style). Both passed my tastebuds for sweets specially the former because I love nuts and everything about it.
It was a beautiful dining experience and I sure will treasure that first moment spent with my looloo family (wishing for more/wishful thinking hehehe). One thing that made our night extraordinary was meeting the owner of the Abaca Group, Mr. Jason Hyatt. I salute his courage in putting up food business chains in the heart of Cebu and so far I think he has done a good job in making step or big leap in helping us Cebuanos embrace and appreciate other food cuisines. I've been to Phat Po already and I will sure visit his other food chains. I admire his personality too. Hearing him talk shows how passionate he is as a person to his ventured job. For me, he has done a good job and it shows as well to the kind of people he has in his team; respectful, attentive, and very welcoming, no wonder why Beqaa is a good place to dine in and yes I can't wait for this place to shine even more!
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Thank you to the |ooloo crew for my first #rendezvoos and it had to be here in Cebu! So awesome!
It's my first time to eat here in Beqaa, one of the many restaurants within the Abaca group. They serve Lebanese / Middle Eastern cuisine. Truthfully, I really had no idea about this cuisine until I got to dine here with our Cebuano foodies. Though I'm not too familiar with the food, I absolutely enjoyed the food! (or maybe I was just hungry coming from Mactan hahaha )
I wasn't able to try all the dishes but the ones I tried were great! the Baba Ghanoush was not that pretty but delicious. The spices tame and well balanced, quite good for the fainthearted for spicy food like me.
The Arnabeet was delicious! Alabiiiit! (See what I did there? Hahaha ) It was garlicky, bot too salty and had a hint of sweetness. I really liked it! I practically finished the bowl on our side of the table hihihi.
I liked the Kafta too, though some didn't. This made me think if I was hungry nga lang. Hahaha The consistency of the meat was weird though. The meat would gall apart easily, hard to use a knife and fork with. But yeah, I really liked this dish. And the Shish Taouk was really good too. The chicken was tender and had a nice smoky grilled favor.
My favorite savory dish of the night was the Chicken Tikla Masala. I remember I had an Indian Weddinng food tasting and the bride asked our Indian chef to prepare her this same dish and Beqaa's version tasted exactly like it. Well spiced, with a bold curry flavor but not too spicy that you burn your tongue numb. 🏼 It went very well with the rice with garlic and angel hair pasta too. Sound weird but it was really good!
For desserts, I totally enjoyed the Pistachio Creme Brûlée! Omaygaaaaawd!!!! It was so gooood! Can't wait to come back for that!
It was an absolutely awesome night with these awesome people! Cheers as I just know that this is the start of #TeamClingCebu, hopefully! Hihi
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Last thursday night, I met the amazing people behind the looloo app. I was invited to the first looloo rendezvoos held and sponsored by Beqaa. Beqaa is under the Abaca Group and serves Lebanese and Middle Eastern Cuisine. It's an honor to have met the chef and the owner himself Chef Jason Hyatt. It was my first time dining there and the mood is casual dining.
Chef Jason introduced us to Lebanese food as healthy and wholesome food but not entirely vegetarian. The first dishes we had was the Mezze, it's a counterpart of an appetizer in Lebanese cuisine usually served before the main dish. It consist with Huommus (chickpea puree), Labneh (strained yoghurt,garlic, EVOO), and Mouhamara (toasted walnuts w/ roasted peppers) to go with the flatbread. All three have smooth textures and for me Mouhamara was my favorite. Their Arnabeet Mekleh was a surprise for me, Im not a fan of cauliflower but this one really pumped up my appetite. It's a plain cauliflower but seasoned with spices and chilis on it that tastes like a flavorful fried chicken (oops this could be a nice trick to let your kids eat their veggies). The Arnabeet was the cream of the crop. The falafel was also great.
Middle Eastern cuisine won't be complete without the red meat, so we had the Kafta (minced lamb and beef with onions and parsley), Chicken Tikka Masala (tomato based curry) and Shish Taouk ( chicken marinated in yoghurt) to go with Lebanese Garlic Riz. The Shish Taouk was a knockout, the yoghurt did not overpower the taste of the chicken. Oohh I almost forgot it is also served with a thick and flavorful potato fries. The curry in Masala was not that strong and spicy in a good way as compared to what we expected, maybe because its tomato based so for those who doesn't like curry you could try this one and you will fell in love with it. The Kafta was juicy but there's a bit of sour taste on it, some may don't like the sour kick but for me it's ok.
With all the dishes we had I find it hard to differentiate between Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines so I asked Chef Jason as to what sets them apart. He said there's not much difference between the two. Fronting the Mediterannean Sea, Lebaneses food is also considered a part of Mediterranean cuisine. In my observation I could somehow differentiate them with the use of spices, Middle Eastern cuisines tend to use more spices than Northern Mediterannean do (just a wild guess of my palate though).
After an array of bursting flavors, we were treated with a Pistachio Cream Brulee and Muhalabiya for dessert. Muhalabiya is a Lebanese take on a pana cotta with its coconut twist. I always scream for coconut personally so Muhalabiya had me at fist spoon ( first hello lol ) and my eyes sparkled with its delightful taste. Cream Brulee was also heavenly with its pistachio crusted toppings on it. The interiors of the place are an impressive take of a modern restaurant wherein there is an open kitchen that you could see the chef preparing your food. For me, i find the lighting overly dimmed over the tables yet so romantic (not just a fan) better grab a seat near the kitchen. The staff and crew was knowledgable with the food they are serving so you could ask them anything. Great service from them
Trust me, you will have a wonderful and amazing dining experience at Beqaa. When you're in Cebu be sure to visit this place for an ultramodern and healthy take of your Middle Eastern food cravings. That was a great night of healthy food and meeting new lovely faces.
Thank you so much Beqaa, Chef Jason Hyatt and the looloo crew ( Peanut, Odell, and Roegan )
P.S. for more photos of the food that we had at Beqaa,feel free to check my instagram
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After a month of fried, salt-laden, HBP inducing Yankee food this place was perfect! Healthy, generously-spiced Lebanese concoctions (but per chef Jason it's more of a fusion of Medditeranean cuisines) that was surprisingly yummy!
Hate broccolli? You will love theirs, more than fried chicken. Want chicken? The kebab on a fresh bed of salad will leave you wanting more. Not a fan of spice? Their masala will change your mind. Have a sweet tooth? Their creme brulee is OMG-i'm-in-heaven-decadent. There were tons more but I was to busy tasting to remember them complicated names, all I know was they were delish!
My first ever Looloo Rendezvoos and it was amazing! It being a sponsored event made it even better. :D
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I liked it.
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My sister and I were craving for delicious meat last night, and we thought BEQAA was just the place. I made a reservation for dinner at half past seven. We were welcomed warmly when we arrived. Even more amusing was that the manager, John, still remembered our names!
We ordered the Lamb & Yogurt dip, which was very addicting. It was spicy, and you know me and spicy... We also ordered the Falafel Royale, which was served with tabbouleh, hummus and some roti-like bread. My god, the falafel was divine - possibly the best vegetarian dish I have ever eaten in my life! For mains, we ordered our favorite Lamb Chops (of course) and Shish Taouk (chicken marinated in creamy yogurt and garlic). Both were very delicious, as expected. We finished off with their Flourless Chocolate Cake & an order of Muhalabiya (bread pudding flavored panna cotta with orage chutney). The Muhalabiya is a new addition to their menu, and it was absolutely the most perfect dessert to finish off with after all the meats!
Always a pleasure dining at BEQAA, and I cannot wait for my next visit!
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I liked the spicy lamb sausage, the chicken liver with pomegranate sauce, and the interiors of the restaurant
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10pm thats the time we went here with colleagues, and they ordered slab of lamb! Good but as usual for most of abaca restaurant very expensive.
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A first in Cebu, BEQAA serves delectable Lebanese food! Their meat dishes, such as American Lamb Chops and Beef Kebabs are succulent & cooked to perfection -- definitely spiced just right! A special they had, Lamb Pot Pie, was the best rendition of pot pie I've ever had by far! Another must try is their spicy potatoes called Batata Harra, which by the way is soooo addictive. Not to forget also are their yummy appetizers, and super moist flourless chocolate cake (super yum)! Your dining experience is made complete with signature Abaca Group flair and hospitality!
I will definitely be dining here a lot more times!
NOTE: Serving sizes do come SMALL.
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I don't know middle eastern food as well as I know ramen (or Japanese food in general), Chinese and Italian, so whether it's a stoner middle eastern food or a casual restaurant, I'd usually smother whatever they are serving with the house garlic sauce.
But I can tell Beqaa is, at worse, authentic adjacent. This is the only place where I didn't need a shitty garlic sauce to cover a shittier food. I had a chicken kebab, which was very flavorful on it's own. They do serve trio of sauces, which includes the garlic sauce. To be honest the garlic sauce was isn't very good, and the kebab didn't need it. I just wish they serve the tabbouleh separately coz it made part of the kebab taste like the salad, which I liked but my brother didn't.
We also ordered a Beqaà platter, which includes: hummus, tabbouleh, sesame paste (the name escapes me right now) and the best felafel I've ever had (and that's coming from a staunch carnivore). They don't serve felafels separately so we ordered another platter because my brother, who's never heard of the bean patties before, ate it all. And I don't blame him; the flavorful patties were fried crisp, but the inside is still moist and fully cooked. The platter came with this chewy thin bread, I forgot what it's called, but it tastes like naan but it's as thin as a crepe.
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