A beautiful relaxing lounge surrounded by palm trees and two pools, La Closerie, allows you to escape the city's hectic lifestyle. La Closerie has been the talk of town in Tunis for a while now. It's considered by many to be one of the best restaurants around which transforms into a lounge, with good music at night. A place where Tunisian youth look forward to going to every week-end. I had to discover it for myself... But what I experienced was a bit different to what I heard. Yes the whole setting is amazing and I believed that I was in for a treat... Let's see.
The first impression put a smile on my face as I entered into a white house - just one floor decorated with red roses at the door followed by butterfly carved chandeliers, a wine fridge, perfectly set tables surrounded by colorful chairs, all on a concrete floor keeping the ambiance classy. The overall first impression is pure satisfaction to your eyes. Jazz music playing in the background is all you need to make your lunch a memorable experience... We chose to sit outside on this pleasant day.
The architectural details:
- Grey, brown, beige chairs with couple of violet ones adding a flare of colors - Tropical trees add pleasant greenery to the surrounding of the premises - Parasols over the tables keeping it cool - Two water pools with a connecting bridge making the passages from one side to another easier without disturbing the other guests - Mirrors covering the left wall.
I liked the table setup:
- White cloth covers over a grey one touching the floor - Large and wide as well as thin and light wine glasses - Handmade water glasses - "Arbequina and Assemblage" (olives et oliviers) glass olive oil bottles - Salt and pepper - A silver plate placed under the water bottle - A mini round warm crispy bread basket - A welcoming shared platter: Aubergine, peppers, tuna and green olives in four individual square plates.
Until now everything was just perfect and I thought: "Wow!
I'm going to have a delicious lunch today!" And here is where everything started to collapse. I am sorry to say it so bluntly, but none of the plates were tasty.
- Risotto is undercooked, crunches under the teeth to an extent of being inedible. The taste is neutral and needs salt and added flavor. The fresh cream used is too thick making this dish super heavy to digest. Here I discover the fried zucchini used as decorative slices, which haunts us during the whole lunch. They use them everywhere. - The generous mountain of fried seafood is surely not what I expected. Calamari, shrimps, octopus and little fish all fried and presented in a mountain-like shape with fried zucchini and Aubergine slices. This plate is too oily. I could feel the oil seep through every bite into my mouth after every bite. Another point. This dish was served with no side dips. A fried seafood plate without sauce? A french tartar or Lebanese tarator is a must. How can you eat this assortment without a dip to add flavor? - The pineapple and shrimp Mille feuilles is the only tasty preparation for the day. This I will congratulate you on: Pineapple, shrimps, tomatoes, French lettuce, rocket leaves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The pineapple brings all the flavors and tastes to this successful mix. - Escalope Cordon Bleue is a disaster. Undercooked, chewy, tasteless cheese inside, thick and heavy mushroom sauce, cold fried mashed potato ball on the side with sautéed spinach and carrots in garlic... No way! How hard can a Cordon Bleue be? Being creative is a big challenge and has limitations. I couldn't eat more than two bites of this failure. - Filet. We ordered it medium rare and received it medium well. Low quality meat served with cold red sauce that spoiled all the taste. The side mashed potatoes is again cold. -Sushi is good but not impressive. The problem is that the maki rolls are not well rolled and broke into pieces every time you try to grab one.
The biggest mistake today:
The most inexperienced person in the restaurant business must know that a bottle of wine should be presented to the customer for approval before opening. Not only did the waiter open a bottle of white wine, which we didn't order by mistake, he went back in and opened a bottle of red wine again without presenting the bottle for choice approval.
- Charlotte au Chocolat - PannaCotta - Tiramissu - Ileflottante
The positive side of life:
- The staff is professional and joyful quick and pleasant - The desserts are acceptable but not great. They can surely be better and tastier.
- The waiters should change the knives and forks and not throw them on the table between one course and another. It would only cost them some cutlery washing and less table clothes dry cleaning. - The water glasses were not filled and taken care off during lunch. - The mirror wall on the side was very dirty and broken in some parts. In such a very expensive restaurant nonchalance is not allowed.
Be aware of flies:
They can drive you out of the restaurant. Hundreds of them annoy you every second of what is supposed to be a high-end dining experience. Please find a solution for that!
I tried and wanted to be positive but unfortunately I couldn't. La Closerie is one of those places that have a lot of potential. It's a place where you expect a lot yet receive very little. For what it is, for the price you pay and for all the positive ambiance created, it makes me sad to experience such bad food experience. I would surely come back to experience the much talked-about nightlife at La Closerie but until then maybe you should consider changing the chef.