Tawlet El Hamra is a hidden gem of a restaurant and guesthouse in the heart of Hamra. I like to come here for dinner, or to while away a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon. The courtyard is the highlight: a shady, tree-lined garden, with soft fairly lights strung up at night and colourful glass vases on all the tables. The backdrop is a beautiful 1950s villa, decorated with vintage furniture and wallpaper.
The menu serves traditional home-style Lebanese fare, with a buffet option on weekends. The a la carte menu includes all of the classic mezzes, such as houmous, fattoush salad and tabbouleh, plus some specials such as roasted aubergine salad served with pomegranate seeds. My favourite dishes are fettet batanjan (roasted aubergine served in a yogurt-garlic sauce) and kebab karaz (lamb kebab with cherry sauce).
The desserts are also not to be missed – I always go for the laymouniyeh, a tangy lemon custard, or the mouthwatering home-made mulberry ice-cream.