As a current market demand, cafe or restaurant should not only provide great meals and excellent service. To survive in the business, a lifestyle should be created and a prestige is all we need. Those kind of thing had been successfully fulfilled by Cafe Lilou in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
I remember clearly my first week in Manama, I was craving for a Red Velvet cake, the thing I used to have regularly and people were recommending this Fancy French Cafe down the street as it was located in the famous Block 338, the dining capital Bahrain, which was pretty close to my office.
As a cafe and anything-that-might-sell-red-velvet-cake hunter, of course visiting Cafe Lilou became one of my main agendas. I was quite disappointed when I first visited because they actually did not have the original Red Velvet cake that people had been telling me about. In fact, they had this thing called Le Mirabeau, which interestingly was the combination of Red Velvet and Cheesecake. I should not be upset when I could have two of most amazing things in life in a single plate, no? The cake was topped with berries to balance and I personally thought that to make it look chic. About the taste? I admit it was kinda heavy cake but who cared! It tasted heavenly since the time the first scoop touched my tongue. “I totally need to come back” I thought.
As the longer I hung out in the area, it was not just once or two times people were asking me the direction of Cafe Lilou. Most of them came from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait for the Arab Weekend -a whole new other story- which proved that the lifestyle that Cafe Lilou created was impactful enough to be heard by the neighbour countries. It was actually no surprise, the place was always full everytime I went there. Cafe Lilou was impressively designed with the touch of the enchanting Bohemian era in Paris. The red and gold ambiance blended perfectly with the sophisticated decor. The giant moulin rouge lady poster, the fancy stair and chairs, the fountain and the statue, totally made everyone there felt ‘expensive’, which was something that Middle Eastern loved, as I observed.
They actually had other European-with the mix of Arabic dishes other than just cakes and desserts. But I was not really interested by that as the award-winning Cafe is well known by their sweet treats. They were pretty creative with theme, too. They would make special cakes for special occasions like Valentines, Halloween, and Christmas. But as more often I visited them, the more I felt that there was not much variety in their cakes. They sure had their own identity: the cakes were always heavy, I could not make them as a dessert as they made me full right away. But that whole thing made me believe that all the cakes were made from one single recipe. They just put different flavours and colours in the process to make them looked different. They tasted undeniably great, but their capability of making me not bored with their selection just failed.
But again, as I said earlier, this Cafe created the lifestyle that not many dining place could make. They have two locations in Bahrain and spending an afternoon with a cup of its relaxing beverage and a dish of cake was something that socialites of Bahrain considered “cool and current”. I don’t blame them, though. I also really enjoyed sitting in that comfortable couch finishing my sweet and committed of not eating any sugar the next two days.