Exhaling a breath of fresh Lebanese air into Business Bay, K'noon is a new splash of color in the district's growing collection of homegrown eateries. Bursting with character, this humble rainbow-tinted restaurant serves up hearty Lebanese fare with a side of bespoke shisha.
K'noon accepts reservations at 04 424 3508.
Advance bookings are recommended from 10PM to 12AM.
Valet parking and underground self-parking are both an option. However, it will cost you 15 Dirhams either way. K'noon doesn't currently exempt diners from the fee, but is working on it.
Greeting and seating
A quirky Wes Anderson-esque character sprang towards me, wearing a bright smile that compensated for the gloomy weather outside. I was seated in the non-smoking part of the restaurant. I made sure to take some deep breaths of fresh non-smoke-laden air.
Hooray, it didn't smell of minty grape fumes.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
I reckon K'noon serves its staff coffee instead of water because they were all bouncing with energy. Our maitress d' introduced us to our bubbly server, who sorted us out with menus and plied us with more recommendations than we had belly room to accommodate.
Lunch was a mezze spread of regular and pesto hummus, jebneh harra mana'eesh, batata harra, mushroom provencial, rikakat salad, chicken tawouk, cheesecake issmalieh, kenefa arayis, atayif bao bun, and a chilled pitcher of Blue Moon iced tea to wash it all down with.
In 2010, Lebanon won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. For what, you ask? Hummus. 300 cooks joined forces to produce a sinfully delicious 10,450 kilogram vat of hummus.
For a nation this passionate about hummus, it would be ridiculous to not commemorate our meal with it. Forks and shreds of freshly baked khubz dived into the two glistening bowls of regular and pesto hummus. Old may be gold but the nouvelle version with pesto won this round.
We were then served a cooling pitcher of hand-shaken Blue Moon iced tea. This mystical-sounding drink was a cocktail of fresh mint, tangy lemon, ice, and a naughty pour of sugar syrup.
To compete with the 45C heat outside, we ordered two flaming “harra” (hot) dishes. The jebneh harra mana'eesh and a classic bowl of batata harra. Simple yet satisfying, the jebneh harra mana'eesh oozed chili-laced cheese with every greasy mouthful. The batata harra was indulgently crispy but lacked the sexy punch a splash of sauce would have added.
The rikakat salad was a respite from the stodge we'd just downed. A luscious bowl of greens accented with a summery touch of apple and citrus – the salad was crowned with Lebanon's answer to crumpets. A crown of rikakat* turned this dish into a mini feast in itself.
While mushroom provencial found itself a spot in our mezze, we'd recommend it to people who have been dragged to this Lebanese restaurant by their friends. Not quintessentially Lebanese, the subdued flavor of this rustic dish is silenced among the firecracker dishes it's competing with.
Looking like something straight out of a Martha Stewart cookbook, the shish tawouk* floated onto our table. Succulent chunks of chicken cozied up beside vibrant nubs of chargrilled onions, tomato, and garlic. Don't forget to gram this beauty before tucking in. The dish's flavor didn't live up to its appearance, with the chicken tasting slightly dry and tough on the knife.
Prettier than a picture, the desserts left our camera drooling. The cheesecake issmalieh was seated on a bird's nest of vermicelli. Drizzled in caramel, it was indulgent with the ocassional bite of tart berry offering relief from all the sweetness. The kenefeh arayis is proudly unique to K'noon – rolled into a cigarillo and dunked into pistachio syrup, it was an interesting dish.
A crowd favorite, the atayif bao bun, was the show stopper. Buns (that looked like baos but didn't taste like them) lined up on a plate, stuffed with Nutella and cream cheese, studded with crushed pistachios, floating on a cloud of Lebandese candy floss. Sound like a mouthful? It sure was!
Courtesy extended during the meal
Our server and the floor manager frequented our table throughout the meal.
Stepping into K'noon felt like setting foot onto a Wes Anderson movie set. Awash in bright hues of bubblegum pink, sunshine yellow, and powder blue - the restaurant looks like somewhere the Teletubbies grab a business lunch before going back to filming.
Our bill for three at K'noon was 340 dirhams.
Overall, would you return?
Yes! A fantastic team serving scrumptious Lebanese soul food that definitely deserves another visit.
Felafel salad, rikakat salad, mixed grill, cheese baklava, and the K'noon iced tea.