Criollo Chocolate House is the kind of place that is after my heart, for I consider myself an unabashedly chocoholic. Opened not long ago in the northern wing of the Red Sea Malls Second floor, it is one of the many cool cafes already serving shoppers. However I have a feeling this place is unique, and thus will soon be very popular among mall dwellers.
The cafe occupies a central area of the walkway, which makes it more of a kiosk, on the second floor plaza. It is merely separated from the mall causeway by a tiny barrier, which makes it ideal for sitting and watching the world go by.
The motto of the cafe is “Chocolify Your Day”, and the influence of chocolate on the place is hard to miss, from chocolate inspired interior colours, tables, even the shop sign. It pulls you in like a giant sweet magnet. We sat at a corner table, my wife and I, knowing we would likely be spending a few hours at Criollo
. We asked for the menu, and the waiter handed us a small wire-bound notebook that looks absolutely marvelous. This is by far the best designed and most striking menu for a cafe in Jeddah I have seen to date. There’s a great selection of drinks, cakes, chocolate desserts, and even sandwiches available here. Almost every item is displayed with an artfully photographed picture, and it was clearly to me that the brains behind the cafÃ© put much thought about originality and uniqueness and were less concerned about catering to the lowest common denominators which is often the go to mentality of cafÃ© and restaurant owners.
We first ordered two cups of Gincha Green Tea, which we enjoyed greatly. After a while we ordered the “Creamy Dreamy Chocolate Dip” (36 SR) which came with 4 pieces each of small vanilla cake, chocolate cake, and banana and strawberry slices. It was the perfect size for us and the price was great. The chocolate was really good, and its companion pieces were just the perfect size. It did remind me a lot of my favorite chocolate bar; Maya of Bahrain and Riyadh (review here).
We complimented those with cup of coffee and a cup of cappuccino,(the coffee was great too fyi). Our bill was 89 SR in total which was a fair price. I think if had to criticize one thing it would be the speed of service which was not the fastest. Although I won’t be too hard on them because the place has only just opened, and It feels like the place is still in its soft opening phase. I am sure the service level will pick up once the waiters are more trained.
If I may, I would close this review with a rant, and bear with me for it is an important rant, if I may say so. Before I arrive at â€œcriolloâ€, I was having lunch in one of the so called Sea Resorts in Jeddah, where you need to pay a hefty minimums charge just to enjoy the view, to end up paying for overcharged generic food. The irony is that in a coastal city like Jeddah, all the seaside restaurants and cafes are disappointing to say the least. They are just so cynically after their customerâ€™s deep pockets that they rarely bother to match what they charge with the products and services on offer, just because they can! They donâ€™t have to do much and people seem OK with being duped. Compare that to the entrepreneurial projects of young Saudi Men and Women who make projects, such as â€œCriolloâ€, that fulfill their passion and creativity, and in the same time aspire to success.
Guess which type earns my respect, loyalty, my high praise and recommendation? So if you are passing by Red Sea Mall, please go and check out “Criollo”, I’ve added it to my list of top places in Jeddah!Read more