Left Bank: Great Place, Good Service, Overrated Food

 

Don’t you just love it when your mother wakes you up to “Get dressed, we’re going out for breakfast”? And yes, I get that same excitement even though I am 25. Because, it’s so rare these days to have nice family meals together, outside on a beautiful Friday morning; even though you go out with your friends all the time. Such a shame! Yes, maybe this article is about food, but the real morale is: spend more time with your family!

I jumped out of bed and into the first outfit I saw, and hurried down the stairs to catch up with my mother and brother’s family. We drove all the way to Zamalek’s Left Bank, with music blasting and two kids trying to keep up with the lyrics. And between trying to fully wake up and wondering how the kids grew up so fast, I was excited to finally have that breakfast at Left Bank everybody’s been talking about.

I had only visited Left Bank once when it first opened several years ago. It was really early on the first day of Eid, so it was pretty empty. The food and service was amazing and the weather lovely. I had that same picture in my head since, and I thought I’d experience the same today – Friday, August 28th. I was in for a big surprise!

It was merely 11am on Friday morning and there were people lined up at the door waiting for tables! What?! Thank God my other brother had arrived earlier and we already had our table set. The place was packed, really packed and extremely noisy! I was in real shock.

Anyway, we got to our table and quickly made our order. We had several orders of “Left Bank Big Breakfast” (that one’s a real tongue twister, try saying it out loud quickly :)) and I got “Eggs Hemingway” – which is Eggs Benedict with salmon. We also had one “Classic Smoked Salmon Sandwich” and ordered “Vanilla Pancakes” for the kids. Then we had another round of vanilla pancakes and “Chocolate Pancakes” after breakfast.

Hmmm…I don’t know where to start.

I mean, maybe I had my hopes too high from the beginning? Or maybe the food really isn’t that fantastic and people just love the place for its atmosphere? I don’t know. I just wasn’t impressed with the food at all. None of us was. The restaurant is full of light, the view from inside is lovely; a bit of the Nile along with nice greenery, the service was good despite the extreme crowd, and the interior is refreshing. But the food, not so much.

Let’s start with the portions: SMALL! The men were far from satisfied, and neither was I. I know for a fact that Egyptians appreciate a heavy breakfast, even Paul – the supposedly delicate French restaurant – get this idea and serves proper portions.

The food itself;

Breakfast Left Bank Egypt Cairo Review
My Eggs Hemingway:
It just wasn’t that tasty. I could barely feel the salmon, the egg yolks were too well done, nothing oozed out when I cut in the first time, or the second time, or during the whole first toast slice – it only did in the very last part of the other slice. Again, comparing it to Paul, it was disappointing. My greens (lettuce and rocket leaves) were half fresh, half dead; but the hash browns were great though, all golden and crispy.

LB Big Breakfast: Basically omelets or any kind of eggs with sausages, hash brown and some green leaves. The omelets were just omelets, I didn’t bother tasting them. I don’t think anyone objected to their taste but the general feeling was: “meh”.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich: I took a few bites from my mum’s sandwich, and let me tell you; my mum herself makes better sandwiches at home! It was plain smoked salmon and mayonnaise with minimal capers and no lettuce at all, the mayo was too heavy as well. Why would anyone pay 60 LE for that sandwich? I could pay half the price at TBS and get much better filling. The plate also comes with French fries, why? It was on the breakfast menu, why isn’t there a salad on the side or something fresh and morning-y?!

Left Bank Food Review Cairo EgyptPancakes: I have mixed feelings about those. They tasted okay, the chocolate ones were actually nice, but it was sooo flaky it was funny – you’d cut a piece and before you can took it off the plate, half of it had fallen! There was definitely not enough milk in those pancakes – at least this batch because the first round didn’t look like that. This shows a lack of consistency – and in less than an hour. Not cool.

On the upside; the bread they served at the beginning was perfect, and the bread on the salmon sandwich too. So if one thing is really working for them, it’s the bakery.

To wrap this up; here are five things to consider before heading there…

  • Stay away from the Left-Bank-rush-hour, apparently weekend early mornings.
  • Don’t put your hopes up for the food, just expect “good” or “above average”.
  • Go there during the day to enjoy a really great atmosphere in the sunlight.
  • Order something from their bakery menu.
  • Most importantly, take your family.

Enjoy!

Eman Omar

Eman Omar

Eman is a mass of crazy on legs! Continuously on the hunt for something exciting to keep her on her toes, she is ready to try something new every day – because what’s the point of living if not on the edge? Give her ice cream or cinnamon rolls (pretty much anything sweet), and you’ll win her right away. Talk to her about books, music, food, arts and writing, and you’ll be her best friend! She believes in her dreams and wants to fly one day – literally and figuratively.