The idea behind new opening Beirut was to showcase the Middle East and the foundations of its food, while showcasing ingredients and products rarely seen or used in New Zealand.
It took six months to complete development. The site held strong appeal due to its slightly fringe location on the doorstep of the Britomart precinct. Beirut was first imagined by executive chef Javier Carmona, who worked extensively overseas prior to his arrival in New Zealand. Carmona grew up in Sydney and felt sure that the flavours and dishes of the diverse Middle Eastern migrant culture of western Sydney would appeal to the dining public of Auckland. Head chef Jacopo Crosti was formerly the head chef at Sidart. The team comprises 13 chefs in the kitchen and 12 front of house staff. The fit out includes heavy hessian leather fringed drapes, recycled French street lights, hand painted concrete floors and vintage mirror doors on the bar. The use of charred wood, hessian sacking, leather, plaster, and steel in the fit out kept with the theme, which focuses on delivering a cohesive experience. Every piece of wood and table top was charred by hand at owner Nick McCaw’s home in rural Clevedon. Beirut makes its own red and black Sujuk sausage, air dried Basturma, bakes homemade bread and sources ingredients including barberries, apricot kernels, mastic, white and orange turmeric and fenugreek leaves. Standout dishes include the Beef Basturma, Duck Ras el hanout and smoked yoghurt Labna.