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PostSubject: New Lide   New Lide Icon_minitimeMon Apr 12, 2010 12:20 am

[size=75:dq42qcut]Sofia echo 9 April 2010

New Lide

Go to Magnito on Dondukov,"
my colleague said when organising a business lunch meeting with partners recently. "
, I thought "
I like Magnito!"

Then walk straight past it and go into the place next door. New Lide, it’s called. It’s new,"
he continued.

Always open to a new culinary experience, I complied and turned up 10 minutes before my colleagues.

The waiter asked straight away, in Bulgarian, if I preferred smoking or non-smoking. When I replied, in English, that I would prefer the unhealthy seating opportunities he replied in competent English and led me to a window table overlooking the street. He hurried away and produced several settings made of paper place mats which doubled as a menu (in English) and the usual contemporary styled knife and fork and took my drinks order. I soon noticed the abundance of bamboo everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I started to wonder if I should have been given a machete instead of a knife and fork.

Still waiting for my colleagues, I had a look through the menu and found a pretty diverse selection of dishes on one side. Exotic sounding starters ranged between 5.20-9.20 leva, a good selection of burgers and sandwiches, all around eight leva each, and the (apparent) house speciality of savoury crepes ranged in price from 6-8.70 leva for a luxurious-sounding Mediterranean lobster option. The menu was let down by only providing four main courses (11-19.30 leva) but the inclusion of a "
less than 200 cal"
section of six dishes (3.90-13 leva) gave away the true intentions of the New Lide.

It does "
what it says on the tin"
in terms of being a Creperie and Cafe and does not appear to be pretending it is an a la carte option for a city with many. Having looked at the opposite side of the menu and seeing that New Lide offers a pretty extensive range of cocktails (all around five leva each) and venturing down the bamboo clad stairwell ("
sans machete"
as the French would say) in search of the bathrooms to find a dimly lit, intimate and tastefully decorated cocktail lounge, I concluded it was a good option for business lunches and after-work drinks more than anything else. The New Lide is, however, let down by the lack of a Wi-Fi connection which is essential if this is their target audience.

The cocktail lounge downstairs comprises four large booths in deep brown, a separate bar area, a couple more TVs showing the Fashion Channel and, of course, the now commonplace bamboo accessories. After I emerged from the bamboo catacomb downstairs I found my colleagues, relevant language menus were passed around and we ordered.

Between the three of us we ordered a shared starter of Chicken Momos (or Indian-styled samosas as the waiter explained) at 8.60 leva, a crepe with creamy smoked chicken (7.80 leva), Chicken Fajita Burger and a beefburger with cheddar cheese, requesting that the pickles and onions be removed from the ensemble.

The Chicken Momos arrived and appeared to be more like Chinese dumplings than Indian samosa, lacking the triangular shape, thin pastry covering and minced meat and vegetable contents one associates with the dish. Instead, they were thick pastry balls with whole pieces of steamed chicken inside. Clearly the waiter or the chef had never eaten good Indian food. Despite this they were quite tasty, if a little stodgy, and served with two sauces which included a pleasant garlic dip.

The mains arrived in very good time after finishing the "
Chick Dump Dumps"
, as we were now calling them, and, uncharacteristically, all together.

The beefburger arrived "
fully dressed"
with the items he had requested removed. It looked pretty good but the cheddar cheese’s deep yellow/orange colour gave it away as being "
mock cheddar"
. Served on a toasted chiabbata, the dish looked good served on a triangular plate with the burger in the centre surrounded by a large portion of fried potato wedges. Both sides of the bread were covered in a very tasty mango relish that complemented the burger although you could tell this was a "
burger and not the homemade effort my colleague had hoped for.

The pancake arrived on the same triangular plates as the other sandwiches and was huge. My colleague appeared to be enjoying the dish despite the fact he said it would have been better served as a hot filling instead of cold. The creamy sauce covering the smoked chicken pieces was "
almost like coleslaw, but good"

The fajita burger was the biggest surprise. A large tortilla wrap covered the single "
fajita steak"
smothered in a Mexican- style tomato relish. Again, the burger was the centre of attention on the plate surrounded by a generous portion of the same potato wedges.

Considering this was meant to be a "
light lunch"
, the portions were almost American-sized.

The "
fajita steak"
was very tasty but unusual. It was made of minced chicken meat and formed into a large, irregular burger-shaped slab. Spicy seasoning (probably paprika and cumin) complemented it but it did rather remind me of the McDonald’s "
breakfast sausage"
they serve in their outlets in most other parts of the world apart from Bulgaria. None of us were able to finish the large portions and all were satisfied with our choices although there are one or two improvements that could be made to make the meal "
instead of just "
pretty good"

Would I recommend the New Lide to you? Yes. Its good value, original and varied menu lends itself very well to a business lunch. I wouldn’t necessarily eat there every day but it makes a welcome change from the usual suspects such as Happy or Victoria Pizza.

Overall: 5/6
Service: 5/6
Atmosphere: 4/6
Food: 4/6
Price $$$ ($ up to 12 leva a person for three courses;
$$ 12 to 20 leva pp;
$$$ 20 to 35 pp;
$$$$ 35 and over pp)

Address: Sofia, 15 Dondoukov Blvd.
Tel: 02/ 481 13 97, 089/ 790 30 19
Open: Mon-Sun, 8am-midnight
Credit cards: yes
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