Il Loft: Rustic Italian Restaurant at Arkan Mall Falls Just Short of Being Great
We think we can all agree that Italian cuisine has an uncanny ability to bring jot to those who eat it; with pizza, pasta, risotto and exquisite breads, what’s not to love? The amounts of Italian restaurants in Cairo continue to grow and one of the newest competitors in the battle is Il Loft – an eatery whose claims of authenticity come largely from the their commitment to using imported goods.
Located inside Arkan Mall in Sheikh Zayed, Il Loft stands out with an industrial and rustic interior design that will definitely grab your attention. Everything from the hanging light fixtures, to the pizza oven and brick-walling, to little decorative details such as quirkily arranged rolling pins and cheese wheels, come together for an excellent ambiance. Besides the rather unattractive chairs, it all captures a sophisticated yet casual Italian atmosphere. As for the outdoor area, it’ll be great for an early lunch with summer ahead.
While browsing the menu, the waiter arrived with complimentary Italian flatbread and a small plate of shredded parmesan cheese with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s not everyone’s cup-of-tea but for those that like sweet, tart and salty flavours together, it’s a nice opener.
For our appetisers, we went with Parmigiana Di Melanzane (59LE) – a dish that brings together delicious layers grilled eggplant, melted buffalo mozzarella and parmesan cheese, all topped with flavourful tomato sauce and fresh basil. The eggplant absorbed all the delicious and delicate flavours, but sadly the bottom layer was slightly burnt and had a bitter taste.
Moving to the first main, we started with the Costoletta Di Vitello Alla Milanese (95LE) – a Milanese-style veal cutlet. Served with perfectly fried garlic potato cubes, the breaded veal cutlet was topped with fresh arugula, cherry tomato and cheese shavings. The veal was, unfortunately, a bit dry and overcooked, while also lacking flavour, plus the crust wasn’t as crispy as we expected.
We couldn’t visit an Italian place without trying pizza, so we went with the Funghi Pizza (55LE). With its puffy edge and crispy yet chewy centre, the dough alone deserves a standing ovation. We were similarly pleased with the toppings, as the tomato sauce was well-seasoned and the kitchen was generous with the fresh mushroom and fior di latte mozzarella.
We finished the meal with classic Italian dessert, Tiramisu (42LE). Served in a V glass, the tiramisu consists of super creamy mascarpone mixture, with a spot-on amount of sugar, and ladyfinger biscuits soaked in coffee. Sadly, it was too soggy and almost dissolved into a musch, while the ratio of the mascarpone mixture to the ladyfingers was off. Poor execution aside, the flavours individually were out of this world.
Overall, our visit to IL LOFT was just a little short of being great; the ambiance was remarkable and the service was terrific, but several small-to-unforgivable mistakes in the execution let down the experience at the time of our visit.