Originally posted on :Thursday, November 19, 2009
This post is about a favorite eatery which was near Palestine road. Despite being shut down due to some issues, it is still alive in my heart and tummy today! All pun aside, the ambiance was soothing and the food was scrumptious! I wrote a review on it on JeddahFood.com . I am posting the review below for you to get a glimpse of what the Jeddah Restaurant scene has lost. By the way, you can still enjoy it at Dubai Mall in Dubai.
Driving down Andualus Road, you enter the unofficial Cuisine district of Jeddah! A hidden treasure on this road is the bejeweled Cafe Blanc.I have had couple of chances of dining at Cafe Blanc, and believe it needs a thorough appraisal here on Jeddah Food. Café Blanc has opened its branch in Jeddah after enjoying success in Lebanon.To start with, when you reach the door of Cafe Blanc, you are welcomed with a warm smile by one of many caring Servers. When you enter, you can see the seating are for the Bachelors on the left, while if you continue straight, you can take either a lift or the spiral stairs to ascend to the wonderfully cozy eating area. Getting off the lift, if you turn right, you will find the popular WaterLemon, while on the left is the Cafe Blanc.
Once you enter Cafe Blanc, yo are struck by the simplicity and limited seating arrangements. For sure, this is an eatery where the aim is quality rather than quality. There are several seating options. One option is to sit on the regular table and chairs near the open Terrace like space. This way you get a view of Corniche without the noise of the traffic down below. Another option is sitting on the long and extended sofa with tables in front, for comfy seating. There is the option for floor seating with a traditional touch as well. All is in all; they have a seating choice for everyone and every group size!
Also, what is enchanting is the use of colors in the entire interior. The entire area is mainly done in pastels and off-white, with splashes of colors of turquoise and cool colors through cushions and upholstery. The ambiance is most relaxing with light music in the background, usually traditional Lebanese singers singing oldies.
The Servers are dressed in traditional Lebanese attire, which is a loose baggy pant, which resemble a riding trouser, and white shirts. The belts around their waist give a very fashionable touch!
Once seated, you are served with a rectangular file-like booklet which is the Menu. The menu is quite broad, as it covers Breakfast, Appetizers, and Main course. The appetizers are further divided into hot and cold categories. So, you have a lot to choose from. The detailed description given below each entree’ is also refreshing, as you do not need to guess what each item will turn out to be.
As we were visiting for lunch, we ordered a combination of Mezze for Appetizers. This included Hommus, Baba Ganoush, Warq-Al-Anab, Tabboulah, Fatoush, NakeNak and Spicy Battata (potato). While waiting, we were served with a tray of plump almonds and olives. This seemed very unique, as serving almond as appetizers seemed so Mediterranean.
When the starters arrived, the way they were served was unique. The Mezzes were served in individual off-white bowls, which resembles the color theme of the rest of the Café. The bowls were placed in metallic trays, and placed in the center of the table. The amount was just right, and the garnishing of mint was eye catching. The Hommus and Baba Ganoush were delicious, and the Warg-Al- Anab had just the right amount of zest and cooked just right, without being droopy or uncooked. Also, the shape of the Warq Anab was cylindrical, which made it easier to eat. Hats off to the chef!
The fatoush was also served in the small bowl, with bread being roasted in the shape of pinwheels! This is a first timer for us diners. Usually the croutons/pita bread bits are in small square shape. These from Café Blanc were however in a pinwheel shape.
The NakeNak was a bowl of small beef sausages cooked in tangy Tamarind sauce. Most finger-licking!! Also the Spicy Potatoes carried a beautiful golden color from frying, and nice fresh sprinkles of spice, thus being just right in spiciness and taste.
We had ordered a traditional Main course, in which we ordered mixed grill, and grilled pies. The grill was done very well, and the grilled pies came in a pretty boat shape. They were also well cooked and served in an eye-catching manner.
For dinner ending, we ordered Café Blanc’s traditional Orange Blossom Tea. This tea is supposed to be a natural digestive and carried the most amazing floral smell. It was a bit strong for us first time drinkers, however, most other diners seemed to enjoy it a lot.
When the time came to pay the damages, surprisingly compared to what we had ordered, the bill was appropriate and not a bank breaker! A definite plus point.
Once leaving, we also stopped at a booth/column near the entrance where several unrelated but exotic items were placed for sale. This included exotic books on poetry and Henna designs, and exquisite qawa cups and teapots. The items were truly unique, and would be a treasure for collectors.
When we reached the exit, another server was there to bid farewell. All in all a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience. Only pitfall is that it does not offer shisha.