Byblos Downtown [Toronto] - still consistently good Lebanese-ish

We have been very happy with Byblos all the times we have gone and, aside from a few favourite being dropped from the menu, it has remained very consistent over the years. Flavours are interesting and layered. Execution is usually very good. This time we braved an in-person experience before going to a show. Service was a bit erratic - first dishes came before our cocktails and then there was over half an hour before the next dishes. Food though remains delicious.

Forgoing our favourite cocktail, Rose Gulab, we had our second favourite The Geographer again - tanqueray gin, pistachio orgeat, apricot, orange blossom, lemon, egg white, sumac - pretty and fun. We followed that up with a shared glass of 2020 Domaine Ouled Thaleb & Alain Graillot “Syrocco”, a Syrah from Zenata, Morocco, having never tried a Moroccan wine before; it was fine but we didn’t notice anything that remarkable.

Lamb ribs with dukkah, yogourt, raz el hanout glaze, red chili schug, and coated in sesame seeds - lovely as always, sweet, spicy, nutty.

Pear and arugula salad with castelfranco (radicchio), sliced green grapes, candied almonds, cumin, preserved lemon vinaigrette, and also a bit of dill - this was new and pleasant, a very pretty salad, with crisp pear slices on top and also cardamom-poached chunks.

Braised lamb shoulder, raz al hanout, pomegranate molasses glaze - comes with thin pita-ish squares and a whole bunch of sauces/toppings for little lamb wraps - sumac red onion, crispy chickpeas, red (quite hot) & green schug, minted yogourt, sweet pickles, toum (garlic sauce), sabz. Lamb was fall-apart delicious and enhanced with all the fixings.

Halibut special with sabzi vichyssoise and artichoke pistachio chermoula - a beautifully done and slightly crisped chunk of halibut in green sauce, very aromatic and lovely.

Sweet jewelled rice: carrot, saffron, barberries, almonds (and pomegranate) - great as always

Black truffle rice with roasted mushrooms and cumin labneh - very nice as well, went great with the lamb, moderate truffle flavour.

For dessert we tried the new Pavlova - cardamom, orange marmalade, blood orange curd - very pretty and light.