The Italian restaurant has been standing its ground for quite some time now, trying to develop its flavours and branch out to international cuisines. This is, in fact, a difficult plan to execute because you need to perfect each added item as not to lose the expected quality.
We sat indoors to catch the real vibe of the place; the cheese truckles, glass bottle light fixtures, and everything in between that set a casual, unique feel. Having been greeted by the staff, we were handed the menus, from which we opted for Carpaccio (159LE) as an appetiser.
Thinly-sliced raw meat, served with wild rocket, parmesan cheese and truffle dressing; we had high expectations for that one, but unfortunately the plate was not what we had in mind. The rough-cut Carpaccio was bland, and the parmesan was too mild. The only thing that had any taste was the rocket and truffle oil, which was disappointing to say the least.
Moving on to the main courses, giving that Il Loft decided to add international dishes on its menu, we decided to steer away from the pizza this time and go for other cuisines. The first dish we chose was the Thai Yellow Curry Seafood (210LE) which had sautéed calamari and shrimp in curry sauce alongside ginger basmati rice. The curry itself was executed admirably; not over-powering and had a sweetness to it that came from the sautéed onions. However, the shrimp and the calamari were clearly not the best quality; they felt rubbery, and even though they were smothered with curry sauce, it tasted as if they were cooked separately then added to the sauce later. On a brighter note, the ginger basmati rice was to die for; you could eat the whole bowl on its own.
The second dish we chose was Tagliata Toscana (210LE); grilled beef slices with rosemary, served with fried potato and artichoke. The presentation seemed minimal, which was how it tasted; while the beef was flawlessly cooked, it was under-seasoned, and the rosemary on top was clearly just a garnish. The rest of the ingredients had the same issue, especially the artichoke.
Lastly, we wanted to finish off with a tasty dessert, so we asked the staff and they told us to go for their famous Bread Pudding (72LE). Bread pudding typically takes about an hour to make, but this one takes 25 minutes as per the menu. What was served to us was reasonably appealing; a puffed bread-like ball with a caramel sauce that had a hint of cinnamon to it, topped with delicious vanilla ice-cream. Having said that, it was not bread pudding nor did it have any custard like the menu stated – bread puddings are a completely different story.
Regarding casual high-end restaurants like Il Loft, it’s important not to lose sight of why people come back. It is great to have various options to choose from, but we wished the international items that we tried during our visit had the same perfect execution of Il Loft’s Italian options.