The latest entry into Khobar’s fine dining void and located in Al-Khobar corniche is ‘Le Social Lounge’ in Riviera Park bringing in European Fine Dining to the shores of the Eastern Province.Shayne Haridas
The restaurant opens to the public at 6pm and our reservation for 4 was confirmed via WhatsApp which also makes you eligible for their valet parking service which you will need considering the crowds that visit the complex over the weekend.
The staff at the entrance are very welcoming and their warmth made us feel right at home. The interiors are tastefully decorated and you are given a glimpse to the kitchen from a small window near the entrance. They also have a mock-tail bar serving their signature drinks which I will talk about in this review.
I found it challenging to pronounce the names of the starters and the main course and neither did I understand what it meant but I can tell you one thing, I had absolutely no difficulty in enjoying some of the best food I’ve had in Khobar till date.
To kick off the experience we started with their ‘Signature Drinks’ and each of us ordered what we thought would be the best of the lot.
- ‘Lavender Mocktini’ with fresh lavender syrup, fresh lime and soda – This was Syed’s order and not a bad drink at all.
- ‘Rose Mocktini’ with Rose syrup, fresh lime and soda – The wifey loves Roses and she enjoyed this drink and so did I.
- ‘Social Lounge Mocktail’ was the best of the lot and is quite refreshing. Like Samia said, it has a bit of a kick.
For Appetisers, we ordered
- ‘Tataki de Thon Rouge’ – This sesame crusted sashimi tuna with fresh herbs and sweet chilli sauce was refreshing consider that the tuna was fresh and flavourful. The sweet chilli sauce adds a very mild heat that really works well with the fish. A must if you enjoy a good sashimi.
- ‘Carpaccio de boeuf aux Pignons de pin’ – I have only eaten raw beef once before but this version of thinly sliced raw beef served with cherry tomatoes, rocca, basil, sliced parmesan and pine nuts with a drizzle of lime juice and olive oil made it easily the most enjoyed appetiser of the lot. The acidity in the lime cuts out the rawness of the beef and the rest of the ingredients eaten together compliments it.
- ‘Fritto Misto’ – If you are into seafood and enjoy a tasty snack before your main course, then this is the appetiser to go for. The breaded and fried squid rings and shrimp are flavourful. Frying tends to overpower the flavour of the seafood but this was the complete opposite and you really get to taste the delicious shrimp. The surprise to watch out for here is the deep fried ‘Brocolli’ which I have requested they turn into a vegan appetiser because it was so tasty.
I generally tend to avoid ‘Soups’ since that takes up considerable eating space but I decided to give theirs a try.
- ‘Velouté Coco Potimarron’ – This Pumpkin soup is both heartwarming and comes with a few pieces of shrimp and topped with Rocca that gives the soup an edge. You also get a hint of hazelnut and the quantity serves one person.
- ‘Soupe de Champignon’ – This light and flavourful mushroom soup was my favourite of the two and to add to the flavour it comes topped with Truffle foam. Make sure to mix it in well.
We skipped the salads and went in straight for the ‘Main Course’. The menu is simple and the Entrée options limited making it easier to place your order.
Make sure to place your order early if you plan on going for the ‘Lamb Shank’ since that does take considerable time. I promise you , the wait is worth it!
- ‘Souris D’agneau Cuite a Basse Temperature’ – I cannot emphasis enough on how good a dish this was. This slow cooked ‘Lamb Shank’ was the star of the day with meat cooked till tender and served with ‘Mashed Potatoes’ and vegetables cooked in the juices from the lamb. The jus adds a bit more seasoning to an already well seasoned lamb and I hated sharing this dish which is recommended portion for 2 people. I intend on going back to ‘Le Social’ to help myself to another serving.
- ‘Côtelette D’agneau au Poire’ – This succulent rack of lamb comes served with mashed potatoes, broccoli, caramelised pear and lamb jus. The lamb is well cooked and toothsome and the caramelised pair gives the meat much needed edge. Make sure to get a helping of mashed potato with every bite!
- ‘Supreme de Poulet Rôtie’ – How did they manage to cook chicken breast and retain the moisture and flavour? Add potato fondant, spinach and pumpkin puree topped with Saffron sauce and you have a succulent dish. I would still recommend ordering the meat entrée.
- ‘Panache de la Mer’ – This grilled seafood entrée comes with grilled squid and bass served on top of thinly sliced grilled vegetables that is best eaten together. The shrimp too is delicious but I would like a bit more dressing.
- ‘Risotto Champignons Sauvages’ – This creamy wild mushroom infused Risotto packs quite a punch but the quantity can be a bit of a disappointment if you enjoy Risotto rice as much as I do. If you are looking for something that is quite light then this is the dish to go for.
After experiencing some of the most unique food I’ve comes across in the Eastern Province we moved into the outdoor seating area to enjoy the beautiful weather and ordered 2 of their best selling desserts. We were also served Coffee to go with our desserts and I made sure it was a ‘Cortado’.
- ‘Tarte au Chocolate Fondant’ – If you love chocolate in all forms and with a hint of dark chocolate then you will definitely enjoy the Chocolate and Coffee infused ganache served on a chocolate tart. This goes well with a latte.
- ‘Panna Cotta Framboise’ – I love the texture and subtle flavour of ‘Panna Cotta’. The portion is fit for one person only.
I would like to thank @lesociallounge for the invitation and the wonderful dining experience. The service goes beyond what is expected and this along with the great food looks like a real winner. Thank you @foodingmyselfaround and @nomanaksamia for joining me.
Make sure you have a reservation for the best experience and to avail the valet parking service. You can call on 0533181257 to book your table.