The stylish, cursive design of the Yasmina sign stands out on the Marina Mall building, beckoning you with the promise of something beautiful. When you do walk into the new Lebanese restaurant you are rewarded with a promise fulfilled. When the maître d’ opens the door to Yasmina, one is first struck by a quaint lounge area all done up in calming pastel colours. The comfortable sofas face a beautiful wall of fruit and vegetable displays and are a welcoming sight especially if it’s been a busy day.
To get to the dining area you’d have to make a right turn and the first thing you might notice is how purple everything is. You’ll probably also go on to notice that the room is round and offers a panorama of the fast developing Airport City.
The word to describe the space is not large but perhaps comfortable. The overall décor of Yasmina is pleasant and minimal except for the rather elaborate chandelier in the middle of the ceiling which dangles a little too closely to the round table for 12 that it hangs over. It’s a good thing the average height in Ghana is about 5’ 4”.
At almost 2:00pm (about an hour past the standard lunch time) the restaurant is quiet except for a business party seated at the chandelier table and a pair in one of the half-moon booths that encircle the dining space. The waiters get to you rather quickly which, in my case, could be because there isn’t much going on. They are also very helpful if you’re new to Lebanese cuisine.
An order of a three course meal made of Humus, Tabouleh, Kafta arayes and The Sampler gives a chance to sample just about everything on offer. If the colourful, steaming spread is not enough to whip up your appetite then Arak, a Lebanese pastis should do the trick. On the other hand, if you’re amply prepared for the meal a large glass of fruit cocktail will help you wash the meal down.
The order comes very swiftly so if you’re hungry with no time to spare Yasmina would have to be on your list of quick lunch places. They, however, do not offer a hot towel to clean your hands even on request so you’d have to go to the washroom.
For starters, the Humus is boiled, ground chickpeas with olive oil is served with Lebanese bread and, having tasted humus once before, I must say that it’s good Humus. Tabouleh is a salad made of chopped parsley, tomatoes, onions, and wheat with lemon juice. There is a little too much of the lemon which makes it difficult to eat on its own but it goes very well with the bread and the Kafta Arayes. Arayes is simply meat in pita bread. It tastes very much like goat meat. The sampler is a mix of ground, spiced meat with nuts known as kibbeh, samosic (pretty much a samosa), Fatayer, a surprisingly pleasant fried spinach pie and crispy, sweetened cheese rolls called Rakakkat Jibn. all meals are served with complimentary pickled vegetables and olive oil.
The fruit cocktail tastes like it’s been mixed with sugar. And the Arak is a tad strong; not recommended if you’re going back to work.
The order serves enough food for two people but not to worry if you can’t finish it; they pack it for you.
Yasmina probably won’t be the best place to get regular lunch if you’re on a budget; the prices are a little steep. It would better serve as a place to have important business lunches and it helps that they deliver too.
Yasmina’s gets 3 stars from me. If you’re looking for a Mediterranean treat, try Yasmina and let’s see how many stars you give it.