The Lobby Impresses With Expert Dishes And Cozy Atmosphere



Sun, 10 Apr 2016 - 05:51 GMT


Sun, 10 Apr 2016 - 05:51 GMT

Newly opened restaurant The Lobby impresses with expertly executed dishes, a comforting atmosphere and excellent service.

by Ahmed Goher

Ahead of its official launch this month, Egypt Today was invited to try out The Lobby, brought to you by sister restaurant The Batter Half and Co. I took up the invitation and made a 7pm reservation for two. With my friend living in Zamalek, we decided to walk to the restaurant because parking around that area is truly a headache.

Inside, the ambiance at The Lobby can best be described as cozy yet sophisticated. The ceiling is lined with timber, while the brick walls are interrupted with different decorative elements, including dangling ropes, copper pipes, vintage clocks and a fireplace. Combined, they deliver a very comforting atmosphere.

As soon as we sat down, a complimentary basket of fresh, hot bread arrived with some butter, providing us something to nibble on as we deliberated on what to order. The Lobby boasts a breakfast menu, salads, sandwiches and a specials section. The desserts and drinks menu was provided separately.

For starters, we ordered a perfectly shareable Shrimp Salad (LE 75), consisting of grilled shrimps, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, segments of orange, red and green bell peppers and sweet orange dressing. I also ordered a Twenty Till Grapefruit cocktail (orange, grapefruit and pineapple) that arrived cold and refreshing, albeit a bit too sweet.

The salad arrived quickly and was topped by a surprisingly large portion of warm, excellently cooked shrimp that retained their flavor and were far from the sparse, rubbery, flavorless lumps served by many of Cairo’s restaurants. The dressing provided just the right kick, and its sweetness was not overpowering. The highlight of the dish, however, were the orange segments that exploded in the mouth with each bite for a juicy, delicately sweet burst of flavor that perfectly complemented all the other ingredients in the salad. Overall, an excellent start to the meal and one that is highly recommended.

[caption id="attachment_493885" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Lobby salad. The Lobby salad.[/caption]

Torn between a number of tempting options, including an interesting Salmon Burger and an appetizing Seafood Spaghetti, I ultimately decided to order the Beef Fillet (LE 100) served with a choice of mustard, mushroom, pepper, blueberry or blue cheese sauce (LE 100) and a side (rice for myself). My friend opted for the Chicken Cheese Dip (LE 80), which is described on the menu as deep-fried chicken stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, olives and salami, with potato wedges for the side.

The fillet was grilled perfectly and the meat was clearly of very high quality. Not many places can nail down the doneness as requested, but The Lobby’s chefs were able to cook the steak to my desired medium, making for a perfectly juicy steak with the right amount of pink in the middle. My chosen pepper sauce came drizzled on the steak and in a small cup alongside the rice, and matched perfectly with the rich, smoky flavor of the beef.

Meanwhile, my usually talkative friend was silently and passionately eating away at his dish. I took a bite from his plate to try it out and was stunned. The textures and flavors of this dish were outright beautiful. With a crispy but light exterior and a cheesy, smoky rich tender interior the dish is what every Chicken Cordon Bleu in Cairo aspires, and usually fails, to be. A definite must-order for anyone looking to visit The Lobby, and as succulent as my beef fillet was, I could not help feeling that I wanted that deep-fired golden chicken and vowed to myself that I would make a return visit to order it.

For desserts, the menu is divided into The Lobby’s homemade selection and another section with items brought in from its sister shop. I had a red velvet cake slice (LE 26) while my friend chose the brownies filled with a layer of dark chocolate parfait and served with fresh strawberries drizzled in vanilla sauce (LE 42). The red velvet was enjoyable and not too rich.

The brownies, on the other hand, were quite tough, and my friend and I had to battle to get some bites. Still, these were battles worth fighting for. The sweetness and richness of the decadent mouthfuls were regularly broken by the fresh strawberries and vanilla sauce to make for a flavorful dessert.

Overall, my experience at The Lobby was excellent. The service was exceptional in terms of speed and responsiveness and the food was topnotch. Perhaps my only qualm was the size of bathroom, which, while impeccably clean and well-designed, fits only one person at a time — which could cause some annoyance during crowded days.

The Lobby • 22 Taha Hussein Street, Zamalek



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