I miss Hard Rock Cafe so much, I miss the one in Beirut even more... Whenever I am out of town I try to visit a Hard Rock Cafe if they have one. The last one I tried was in Lisbon and I recently enjoyed lunch in the one in Istanbul.
Typical of Hard Rock Cafes world wide, you will find a wide shop that sells the iconic tee-shirts, while walls are decorated with guitars and Hard Rock wall of fame filled with famous celebrity clothes... pass through these and you will reach the bar where the dining area is. High tables and stools with one corner hosting some leather sofas. A big logo reminds you that you are in Istanbul. Up on the third floor is the terrace surrounded by other buildings and stuck by the sun; we preferred having lunch on the ground floor.
The music is too loud and the sound of the base is so annoying; unbearable at times! The place is a bit too dark for lunch. Staff is welcoming and the manager made sure to visit our table.
On the menu are the signature nachos, hickory smoked lamb, fish and chips and fajitas. HRC is also celebrating taste of Mexico, with a selection of fajitas, Mexican street tacos, tinga tacos, quesadillas and an inspirational salad.
- Hard Rock Cafe nachos layered with three beans mix, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeños and green onions. The plate is garnished with sour cream.
- Boneless bodacious tenders, tossed in one of the three HRC sauces served with carrots and blue cheese dressing.
- Hickory smoked pulled lamb, hand pulled so it's tender and juicy with a hickory barbecue sauce.
- Cobb salad, mixed greens with grilled chicken, avocado, tomatoes, onions, egg, smoked bacon and Monterey Jack cheese with cheddar.
- A burger-like sandwich stuffed with a load of pulled lamb - juicy and sweet lamb stuffed between two chewy buns and served with fries, accompanied with coleslaw and beans on the side. Smoked and sweetened, the sandwich is good. It is tender with a unified texture. There was no crunch which I would have preferred to have. Fries are excellent, well salted and peppered, thick fries with a molten heart and an unusual sweet coleslaw on the side.
- The nachos, thin and crunchy are loaded, taste a bit like Doritos but I liked them. I enjoyed their thin shape and crunchiness. Guacamole and sour cream add some fun.
- The chicken tenders are good! A tender heart, a thick breaded envelope intensively sweet and spicy. Six fingers of them explode under the teeth giving away all the flavors hidden within.
- The salad looks good but unfortunately has zero taste. The sauce is a failure.
On average, the food is not bad but I've had better at Hard Rock Cafes around the world. The music is too loud, the service is average and the space is a bit too dark... Nothing was exceptional enough for me to visit again unless I come back for a drink at night.