The drive up to Le Plateau de Bakish – a Lebanese eco village – is a winding mountainous journey that ends in a remote getaway destination that Gilt has taken over for the summer. The quiet rocky surroundings help you immediately zone in on the lush grassy area, the large (and full!) pool, a gazebo-covered restaurant and bar, and the indoor kitchen and dining zone that keeps its windows wide open. In poolside attire, you can casually traipse from pool to sundeck to bar and back again, the ultimate relaxed setting where shoes aren’t necessary and a drink is always in hand.
While Gilt has shifted its entire staff and menu up to the mountains, it has added in a few elements to make the hour long drive from Beirut more than worthwhile. Opening from 10.30 in the morning so that you can enjoy the sun all day long, it serves a lunch and dinner menu that expands upon its diverse offerings by providing a special “by the pool” selection of sandwiches for easy nibbling. With live DJ sets (this past weekend, Greek duo Tosel & Hale) and an impressive speaker system run purely off of the solar panels surrounding the property to keep the mood up (even the bartenders are not immune to some behind-the-counter moving), the lively midday buzz indicated Gilt Altitude is the ideal weekend spot for a getaway free from Beirut crowds.
With a bevvy of servers roaming around and touching base periodically for any beverage needs, come lunch, the tables set up on a slightly elevated deck puts you right between the DJ and bar booths and those still soaking up the sun in the lounge chairs or on the assortment of vibrant inflatable animals. The menu is large (our server Boudi playfully asked us if we like to eat and made a series of well-received recommendations) and perfectly complements the venue. With a mix of seafood, Italian and meat-based offerings from Chef Maroun Chedid and Pierre Abi Haila, favourites included a refreshingly generous portion of smoked salmon atop mascarpone and a large blini, topped with fresh greens and dill, and the burger trio, which included the signature Gilt burger. Having seen the assortment of beef on the menu, it is clear that Gilt’s meat game is on point. Their presentation is simple, but the marination of their Australian beef is no joke – it is the way to go, whether in the form of a sandwich with blue cheese, one of their steak cuts, or the highly recommended steak tartare. To end, go with the frozen banana “popsicles” covered in chocolate with a peanut butter dip – a playful, fresh dessert that encapsulates the entire experience.
But Gilt Altitude is more than an easy al fresco meal with crisp drinks garnished with flowers or fruit. From encouraging you to engage in some youthful verve and ultimate relaxation while floating in the pool, to the upbeat music and the striking unobstructed views, Gilt Altitude is easily one of the best, and most unique, venues in Beirut this summer.
Gilt Altitude is open at Le Plateau de Bakish until 3 September