Vibrant colored outdoors, courteous staff, magical evening lights and finger-licking good food! Welcome to SOUK by Cafe Arabia! The air here smells deliciously of roast chicken and instantly prepares your stomach and taste-buds for their scrumptious meal. This franchisee has been in Pune for a while now, mostly operating in malls at different locations. So, what’s different about this branch at Salunkhe Vihar? Have a look below:
The owner of Souk lived in Dubai for a good seven years. His wife is a native of Dubai and is his biggest critic when it comes to Lebanese food. They wanted to preserve the authenticity of Middle-eastern food when shifting base to the city of Pune, in fact, some of their ingredients still come from Dubai. Pune has been deprived of a good Lebanese restaurant for years, I have tried shawarma in various places before but never have I been blown away, until now! (in this case, the devil’s chicken)
Mocktails: All of them, are totally refreshing and tasty! Pink lady has a base of cranberry juice and soda with pomegranate pearls in it. Blue butterfly is a combination of blue curacao, pineapple juice and soda. But the one that was outstanding for me was Lebanese Sunset, which is made from mango crush, ginger, lemon and soda. This drink is absolutely gorgeous in looks and in taste!
Zaatar salad: crunchy veggies, well-cooked chicken with tahini dressing, zaatar herbs and lemon. For all the health freaks out there, staying healthy is made easier when the salad is tastier! This chicken and tahini combination is delicious!
Mix mezze platter: I have no words to justify how amazingly awesome this platter was! Two pieces of juicy grilled chicken, shawarma strips, fattoush (which is a salad), falafel bullets, garlic toum, harissa and the most amazing hummus in Pune! This should be the first thing you order at Souk.
Turkish pide: The lamb turkish pide (pronounced as pee-day) deserves the best mouth-watering food award! All the lamb lovers MUST try this heavenly, gorgeous pide! *tears of joy*
Black pepper chicken: Aromatic and juicy boneless chicken served with a generous sprinkle of freshly crushed black peppercorns and chutney. Yum yum yum!
Shakes: We tried their strawberry cheesecake and banana caramel shakes and I personally preferred the strawberry one. But they have a whole lot of shakes coming up on their menu soon. So yaay! Lot more options now!
Rose Pannacotta: I was in love, instantly! All rose lovers will want to hug me for introducing them to this divine dessert! The rose and cardamom flavors blend effortlessly into each other, the pistachio crumble on top makes it look and taste beautiful, the creaminess in each bite is unforgettable! Just thinking about it has started making me hungry again, go try it out people!
Skillet baked chocolate based cookie: This one is for all chocolate lovers out there. Just one word: Perfection! Can’t stop eating! Need I say more?!
Baklava with ice-cream: This was the first time I tried Baklava so I am no expert, but I can assure you that the flakiness, dense nutty flavor paired with ice-cream, cannot be missed. It is surely one of those warm traditional desserts that you would want to try with your family!
Verdict: Oh boy! I have never been invited to a tasting where I loved each element put on the plate in front of me. Souk does total justice to the authenticity of Middle eastern flavors and keeps it traditionally on point. The prices are reasonable and totally worth it!
Lastly, a huge shout-out to Team Souk and my fellow foodie Sumedh (@hungry_soul__) for the invitation! 🙂