30 Mar Review: Acoustic Tea Lounge
When I heard a friend recommend The Acoustic Tea Lounge, the name alone arose my curiosity and I decided to put it on my “to do list”.
I went for Saturday lunch with a friend. Located right next to Fauchon on Tahlia, it’s quite easy to find. Open from 9:30am to 12pm every day, it offers an extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Friday brunch is also available. The Lounge presents a different artist every month, typically showcasing Saudi and foreign painters and photographers. Currently the photos of Khalid Al Sudairy (a Saudi photographer) are on display.
While I was waiting for my friend, I got the chance to meet the owner, Samer Alhashim, who very graciously answered my questions and gave me some background information.
My first question was about the name…why Acoustic?
“Because I love the guitar and I hope one day to have a live guitar player,” she replied.
When I came in, some songs by the famous Lebanese singer Fayrouz were playing in the background. There was music throughout our lunch.
The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming. The lounge is open and bright. There are no partitions, not even on request. When I asked Samer about the separation between Singles Section and Family Section, she replied, “If somebody wants a partition, we say sorry, we don’t have any.” The décor is modern, tasty and cozy.
Samer explained that she first opened a similar lounge in Al Khobar in 2007 and then in Riyadh in 2014. “There is no way I could have opened a place without partitions and with music in Riyadh back in 2007,” she explained. Listening to her comments, I thought it was proof again that Riyadh is changing.
Samer recommended the Rose Latte and offered the croissants (plain and pistachio, the Isphana with saffron was not available unfortunately) on the house. The Rose Latte (coffee latte with rose water and a rose bud on top) was so good that we each had two. They were served with a delicious fine biscotto.
The croissants were deliciously fresh and crisp yet not too sweet. We then decided to try the Ottoman Morning (Shashooka poached eggs in tomato salsa with warm pita breads), very good too. A small dish of exquisite ground cumin was served along and gave a very nice enhanced flavor to the dish.
Finally we opted for the beetroot tartare (yogurt, walnuts and mint), served with warm bread and breadsticks. The portions are quite generous so we decided to stop there but will definitely go back.
The menu is quite extensive, offering healthy breakfast options (granola parfait, white omelette), Arabian pancakes, nice coffee and tea selection, sandwiches and freshly baked pastries.
The lunch and dinner menu offers salads, pasta and risotto, pizza, chicken quesadilla, avocado and beetroot tartare and much more. The desert menu is very appealing too, with 4 kinds of cheesecake, chocolate fondue, brownies, mille feuille etc
It was a very pleasant experience, the staff was efficient and friendly, and Samer told us the Greek chef will soon offer a new menu with low calorie dishes.