Just after the doors reopened to the historic Lenôtre, with views overlooking the Arabian Gulf, we visited to sample their latest offerings. A quintessential Parisian brand, Lenôtre premiered in Kuwait in 1998 and was the first cafe in the Middle East to house a restaurant, cafe, and catering facility. Residing in a spacious 3-floor villa encompassed by the sea, the location was a treat in and of itself.
The original decor included subdued neutrals with a pop of their signature purple. Changing their menu was a momentous occasion, so a change to their interior and exterior was only a natural decision. The upgraded look has more of an edgy and fresh vibe to it, which they achieved by using a bolder color palette and a selection of impressive contemporary furniture and accessories. With three hungry tummies to feed we ended up ordering quite a feast. We each ordered the Watermelon & Pomegranate juice to accompany our food. This turned out to be the star of the show. We all agreed we would go back just for this!
For our starters we took the Avocado Quinoa salad with crispy Kale, which we concurred was one of the best we’ve had in Kuwait. We also had the Mozzarella sticks, bland in themselves but rescued from obscurity by a delicious mystery sauce, and the Beetroot Edamame, not to my particular taste but everyone else really enjoyed it.
Our mains were delivered promptly after our previous plates were cleared. I had chosen an Almond crusted Hammour steak with a side of caramelized Onions and Tomato sauce. My companions had chosen the Lemon Veal and pasta two ways; Tagliatelle Verde and au Fromage. These were accompanied by caramelized baby Carrots, Sweet Potato gratin and wilted Kale. We were all underwhelmed with the main dishes, both the fish and veal had good flavors yet were chewy, and the pasta was quite bland despite its texture being good because it was handmade and fresh. The sides, on the other hand, were scrumptious! The carrots were sweet and sticky with a bite to them, the twist of sweet Potato to a traditional gratin was deliciously innovative and the wilted Kale, although a little salty was very moreish.
We rounded off our meal by sharing some tasty desserts; fairly standard fresh fruits and sorbet which made up for the lack of flavor elsewhere, Orange infused bread pudding, which was hard to resist and kept us attacking until it was finished, and Chocolate soufflé with an oozing melted center that tasted as good as it looked.
From start to finish the food ranged in flavor and texture, maintaining a higher than average standard compared to other franchises. Combined with the ambience we all thoroughly enjoyed our evening.
Lenôtre is located opposite Kuwait Towers, Arabian Gulf St., Qibla, Kuwait. (+965) 2805050. For more information visit www.lenotreparis-kuwait.com
Words: Lucy Moore