A few weeks ago, thirty-two Aramcons had the pleasure of attending a pre-opening lunch at a new eatery in Bahrain.
Café Lilou, situated in Adliya, is the latest establishment in the restaurant group that has produced Mezzaluna, Monsoon and Zoë’s, and its speciality bakery provides bread and pastries to its sister restaurants. The proprietors have successfully achieved at Café Lilou the atmosphere of Parisien café society in the early 20th century, when the Bohemian way of life symbolized by artists and poets thrived in the French capital.
The café is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. An extensive breakfast menu is offered from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Choose from fresh fruit salad with cottage cheese (for the dieters among us); freshly baked croissants filled with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, mushrooms, tomatoes; buttermilk waffles, and various filled brioches and muffins. Prices are from BD1.500 to BD2.500. Continental breakfast, which includes a choice of the special house pastries, is BD2.000.
As we were lunching, many of us chose the French Onion Soup (BD1.500) as a starter. This was outstanding, and reported by some as the best onion soup they had ever had – praise indeed. The café also offers soup of the day for BD1.200.
It was difficult to choose from the magnificent choice of sandwiches made with parmesan and rosemary bread, French bread, pesto and oregano bread, foccacia and cherry tomato bread, raisin and walnut bread, organic herb bread, corn brown bread and pannini bread. If the choice of bread alone was a challenge then the fillings were even more so. Juicy beef and mushrooms, chargrilled marinated chicken breast and sliced smoked turkey, breaded goat’s cheese and asparagus, and smoked salmon, to name but a few. Each sandwich is served with curly potato fries or salad. Without exception everyone reported the sandwiches to be delicious. Sandwiches ranged in price from BD2.000 to BD3.800.
Main courses and salads, from BD2.400 to BD3.800, included a very excellent quiche of the day, a tasty deep-fried brie cheese and caramelized apple salad, and prawn cake with fresh dill. I very much enjoyed my own choice, Kebbe Nouveau, which is kebbe filled with mozzarella, basil and pine seeds served with a green salad.
Included in a fine selection of desserts are crème brulee, apple pie, warm chocolate brownies, home made ice cream and sorbets. Prices are BD1.600 and BD1.700.
A vast selection of teas, herbal infusions, coffees and fresh juices are available. The Moroccan Style herbal infusion, which is described on the menu as “gunpowder tea from Taiwan with mint leaves from Morocco”, was particularly good. Beverages range in price from BD0.600 to BD1.300.
There is also a good selection of freshly prepared energy and health juices with exotic names such as Symphonie de Fruits Verts and Entente Entre Fraise et Banane. I had a slight head cold and was recommended the L’Energie dans un Verre which contains ginger, carrots and oranges. It was truly delicious. These juices are BD2.000 each.
Sensually named milk shakes such as Chocolat Refraichissant, Les Fraises Folles and L’Avocat du Diable, at BD1.800, were extremely popular with our party and there was much indulgence in this area. Waistlines suffered as a result, I’m sure.
Prices are subject to 15% service charge.