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Review

Taste test: Em Sherif, a culinary journey to Lebanon

em-sherif-monaco
Monte-Carlo SBM

This new restaurant located in the Hotel de Paris offers tasty and light cuisine that is 100% Lebanese.

Originally created in Beirut by Mireille Hayek, Em Sherif has just arrived in Monaco, inside the Hôtel de Paris. Monaco Tribune tried out this new arrival in Monte-Carlo’s culinary landscape for you.

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A successful mother-daughter duo

Em Sherif is first and foremost a family affair. “This wasn’t my field at all starting out. I wanted to provide Lebanese cuisine that would be like home-cooking.” This is how Mireille Hayek, mother of four, including her young son Sherif, set out on this adventure. Em Sherif, which translates as “Sherif’s mother”, was born twelve years ago in Beirut. Success was not long in coming and the restaurant was exported to London, in the prestigious Harrods luxury department store, and then around the world.

But this new venue in Monaco is a little special. Because here, it is none other than Yasmina, Mireille’s daughter, who is in charge. At only 25, the young woman, who attended the Institut Paul Bocuse, serves a cuisine that combines authenticity and modernity.

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Mireille Hayek will stay by Yasmina’s side “as long as it takes” – © Monaco Tribune

With her mother’s help for a few more weeks, she is getting ready to take up the new challenge alone: “I am still learning, I am learning from everyone, from my mother but also from my team. I was scared before I came, but once I got started, I saw that everyone was committed, we all believe in it! (…) Monaco is very dynamic, always on the move. That is what I like about it here.”

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For Mireille, the Monegasque adventure is an accomplishment: “For me it’s a source of pride to be here. It is the fruit of many years of work. My goal is to make a success of it. Monte-Carlo is beautiful, elegant, European…”

And to adapt to European trends, mother and daughter are working together to provide traditional cuisine, but in keeping with the tastes of the Principality and the surrounding area. “We are avoiding dishes that are too acidic,” Mireille explains. “Each dish must have its own fragrance, but few spices are actually used. The kitchen remains light, and is butter and garlic free. We make everything with olive oil.”

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Our review

Yes indeed, at Em Sherif, the watchword is light. The wide variety of dishes can be a little daunting at first glance, especially the tasting menu which has no fewer than 14 courses to share! But in the end, it’s easy to be tempted by the succession of appetising dishes .

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The menu includes a very nice selection of mezzes, starting with a light and creamy hummus. Briwat, yalanji, samak… Here, the flavours of the sea and the land blend in harmony. Special mention for the fattet kraydiss: sautéed prawns, cooked with yogurt and kadaif (thin noodles, similar to vermicelli).

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© Monaco Tribune

The kharouf, a confit lamb shank, or the farrouj, a marinated cockerel, are particularly well suited for those with a big appetite. And for dessert, forget the Paris-Brest! Here, the Beirut Monte-Carlo is the star, and it comes in the form of a date cream choux, infused with black tea. To wash it all down, by all means try the white coffee: hot water scented with orange blossom. All these colourful dishes are served on delightful crockery of oriental inspiration.

Guests are invited to enjoy this hearty and tasty meal in the restaurant’s understated, elegant interior or on the beautiful terrace, with a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. Excellent value for money, Em Sherif has a real culinary journey in store for you. Destination Beirut!