Coming back from Kingston, I got off the train in the middle of rush hour and realized it was hapless to attempt to drive back to London so I took the opportunity to grab an early dinner at Byblos. Hidden on Duncan St, the outside is quite subtle especially compared to the massive four floor fortress inside. When I went to the reception, I got the typical routine when I told them I didn’t have a reservation. It starts with the fake pensive stare at the blank computer screen, followed by a slight nod and a grim proclamation and they said there was only room upstairs in the lounge. I followed him upstairs and was seated at a well stocked bar. I felt like I was in the bleachers at a Jays game beacuse I was the only one there. Good thing they snuck me in! As I waited for a drink, I looked around and the saw that the place was decorated in the typical Charles Khabouth style. The room was elegantly decorated and accented with hints of the Middle east.
I was quickly greeted by two barkeeps and we were able to strike up a bit of a conversation. First, we discussed the concept at Byblos: eastern Mediterranean flavours and a kick ass bar. I decided to test the latter out with an old fashioned ($15). Made with a base of Bulleit bourbon (that’s a good start) and accented with date molasses instead of sugar atop a signature Khabouth big ass ice cube, it had an odd colour (I love the bronzy hue of a good old-fashioned) and slightly overwhelming sweetness which hid the bourbon a little too much but in the end was still a decent drink.
From a food perspective, the menu is divided into small and large plates with a spattering of rice dishes. Since I was solo, for the most part I stuck with the small dishes and quizzed the guys about the best dishes: