restaurant

Närenj

Närenj (Orléans)

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In 2015, Nabil and Sousana Attar fled the Syrian civil war with their recipes from Damascus tucked away inside their suitcases, in the hope of starting over abroad. After a stint at the Résidence du Refugee Food Festival in 2017, the couple wound up heading to Orléans one year later to open up Närenj – or “bitter orange” in English. The former engineer now treats guests to straightforward Levantine cooking, while his partner (an ex-medical sector employee) watches over the starched tables in the dining room. Served à la carte the night we went: creamy labneh with Syrian za’atar; excellent hummus; tasty muhammara – a creamy pepper and walnut dip; a generous smoked eggplant purée; a majestic makloubeh, an upside-down bulgur wheat cake with slow-braised lamb and eggplant; a fine beef kebab cooked for 13 hours, with yogurt sauce and freekeh (green wheat) meatballs; before an ice cream made with Damascus orchid bulb flour, with some incredible cotton candy! And on the menus? Pink lentil, cumin and lemon soup; maghmour with cooked yogurt, tahini, butternut squash, stewed beef and zucchini; yabrak with grape leaves stuffed with free-range, slow-roasted lamb, garlic and lemon; rice pudding with toasted pistachios and Damascus rose petals… // G.B.

FEELING THIRSTY? A French-Levantine wine selection: a Lebanese white from Château Kefraya (€6 a glass), an organic Cheverny white from the Domaine des Huards (€29 a bottle), a Lebanese red, Altitudes (€38 a bottle) or a Syrian Bargylus (€61).

PRICE: Menus €35-43 (food and wine pairings +€24), à la carte €34-41.

Le Fooding’s 2022 Guide is fresh out of the oven!

What’s on the menu this year? A brand-new selection of 200 restaurants, bars and bedrooms across France, articles sprinkled throughout the magazine, the taste of the times distilled down to its purest form in our highly anticipated award’s list and, for the very first time, two new guides to the country’s best stand-out shops and spirited cellars!

2021 Le Fooding guide frontcover
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