Leila: Fountain-Side Lebanese Restaurant Falls Short on Service in Cairo Festival City
Inside Cairo Festival City Mall
10AM - 12AM
There is nothing more disappointing than when a positive first impression later being falsified by the reality of a venue. Leila, a Lebanese eatery with plenty of branches in Cairo and one in Alexandria to boast, sure seemed like the perfect choice for a quick bite in the busy shopping complex, but unfortunately did not manage to live up to expectations.
Located right by the fountain, in a prime location, Leila offers both outdoor and indoor seating. Whereas the indoor seating area is quite cosy, the outdoor area seemed more tempting, given the unusually refreshing spring breeze. Upon being seated, our menus found their way to our table.
Leila’s menu offers a comprehensive array of Lebanese delicacies, including the 'Metabbal Debs El Remmen' (27LE), ich comprises of eggplants smothered in pomegranate molasses, an assortment of Kofta dishes (77LE), as well as mixed grill options (99LE-149LE), Lahm Baajine (42LE), an assortment of Lebanese pastries (55 LE), as well as some grilled chicken based dishes and authentic Lebanese desserts.
Feeling a bit adventurous, we went for two Lebanese pizzas (55LE each), not exactly knowing what to expect. For some pre-food refreshments, we went for mint green tea as well as Vanilla-Coconut and Peach flavoured shishas (40LE each).
The process of ordering, which included us having to go through a few waiters, was hectic. Our table was peculiarly not assigned a single waiter, and so whereas one would be taking our food orders, another would be taking our drink orders.
Arriving a good fifteen minutes after ordering, the shishas were initially light yet flavourful, but then no proper coal maintenance made the experience shortlived. The pizzas, which arrived ten minutes after the shishas, were surprising to say the least and looked nowhere near traditional. Presented on ceramic platters atop a metal stand, the pizzas were slightly cold and boasted uncooked pieces of homemade mozzarella cheese, topped with Rocca leaves and tomato slices atop a thin pastry.
Whereas the pastry tasted more like that of Manakeesh rather than pizza, the mozzarella cheese was quite delicious, yet the overall taste of the dish as a whole was quite disappointing.
The mint green tea seemed to have been completely forgotten, despite us asking for it twice, yet finally made a surprise appearance towards the end of our meal. To wrap up, Leila was a confusing mixture of a great location, with spot on ambiance, but dissapointing service.