Still in a soft-opening phase, the Lobby in Zamalek has some pretty big shoes to fill. Taking up the space that was once occupied by the popular Blackstone Bistro, the restaurant does show signs of promise in living up to the previous tenant's standards, boasting a cosy atmosphere that meets you as soon as you walk in.
Everything from the choice of wood and brick interior and the two-seat linear table arrangements, to the fire place, copper pipes and the intriguing vintage collection of clocks come together for a unique and welcoming aesthetic.
We started our meal with a complimentary and outstandingly fresh bread basket, salty sticks, some butter and a Spinach Caesar Salad (45LE).
The salad boasted fresh lettuce and perfectly toasted croutons, but the standout flavours came from the spinach, the zesty lemon Caesar dressing and the slices of Grana Padano – which is slightly less salty than Parmagiano. We couldn't think of a better way to begin our meal.
With two different menus – one being the Lobby's regular menu and the other boasting the monthly specials - there were several tempting dishes like Seafood Spaghetti (65LE) and a 200g Beef Fillet (100LE) from February's specials, as well as some promising items including Pulled Duck Sandwich (75LE) and Salmon Burger (75LE) from the regular menu.
After some thinking, we opted for Chicken Cheese Dip (75LE) from the specials along with a Greek Style Beef Souvlaki (65LE) from the main menu.
With a crispy golden crust on the outside and a tender texture on the inside, the cheese-and-salami-stuffed chicken ticked all the right boxes, while the cheese dip had a remarkable mixture of salami, melted cheese, olives and mushrooms and worked perfectly as a kind of fondue for the chicken. The smooth and creamy mashed potato side was just as good, especially when sinfully combined with the cheese dip.
Similar to tacos but enveloped in pita bread, the Greek beef Souvlaki came out looking more like a variation of hawawshi, in that, rather than being wrapped, the beef was stuffed in a whole pita bread and cut up into slices. It had us concerned at first, but it was far from disappointing.
Inside the grilled pita bread, the beef was accompanied by mint and goat cheese, giving it rich, Greek flavours, while the tomato gave it some freshness and acidity. The only missing element, however, was the tzatzaki sauce, which could've turned into an authentic Greek wrap rather than a Greek-wannabe. The dish comes with sweet potato fries, which had a perfectly crispy exterior and soft interior; possibly the best sweet potato fries we've ever had.
Opening the dessert menu, we were happy to find out that the dessert is provided by the Batter Half & Co, with six exclusive house specialties and some of the bakery's classic choices like Red Velvet and Carrot Cake on offer. As much as we wanted to try everything on, we finally settled on Batter Half Cake with Croquant (42LE) – and never looked back.
The dessert comes in the form of a super moist cake coated with feuilletine crust, surrounded by a mixture of caramel and hazelnut and topped with raspberry yogurt ice cream. Batter Half's croquant cake was out of this world with a-melt-in-your-mouth texture complimented by an exquisite crunch in the crust. But despite the raspberry yogurt ice cream's perfect consistency and rich taste, it didn't really work with the other components of the dessert.
From the one-of-a-kind interior and the cosy atmosphere, to the tasty food and excellent service from the staff, we had an incredible time at The Lobby. While you might feel there is nothing necessarily special about the menu, you will nonetheless be impressed with the execution. We're looking forward to try out next month's specials...
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