Appetit Kitchen & Co. is a “French International” restaurant in Riyadh. We decided to try it out as we wanted a little change from our usual favourite restaurant. From the initial waiter greeting us, we knew that it was going to be a terrible dinner.
When you walk in, the first thing you will notice is the ambiance. There’s a lot of calming green interior and mood lighting. The family section is open so it doesn’t feel like your “boxed in” as in some other places. (The “boxing in” doesn’t bother me at all – I prefer privacy) I thought the interior looked a little half finished, as the industrial pipes overhead are still visible, but perhaps that’s the look they were trying to achieve?
Now for the food and service. It was no surprise to find the food was terrible! I’m ready to give every new restaurant a chance but even my friend was shocked at how bad the food was, and she was the one who had heard awesome reviews about this place. The pastas were all way too salty, and this was despite requesting low salt. The tomato sauce for one of the dishes looked so processed that you could taste the fresh BPA from the can. To be polite, I had to eat three bites of the pasta. However, when I came home, I felt awful! The high salt intake had a contracting effect and I found it difficult to breath for 24 hours. We also ordered several other dishes but they were mostly bland, dry, too salty or just drowning in an over processed sauce.
Out of all the dishes that my friends ordered, the prawns and the salad were the most memorable. While we would not go back to this restaurant specially to order these dishes, it’s good to know at least there are some edible dishes on the menu for when we have to be polite and attend dinners here.
Service was terrible too! We had to ask the waiter to locate our orders. Even a simple thing like requesting lemon for the water required several explanations to waiters and the manager before we received our one slice of lemon. When we requested lemon, the waiter said “I’m sorry, but I have to ask the chef for that.” A different waiter came back and said “No sir, that’s impossible.” We thought it was quite bizarre, but really, how difficult could it be to get a slice of lemon? Even the manager kept insisting “No, I can’t promise it but I will try to get you the lemon.” At this point, my friend just said “If you can’t cut the lemon, just bring a whole lemon. If you can’t do that, I will go into the kitchen and get the lemon.” I haven’t used his exact words, but the whole scene was so comedic that I couldn’t stop laughing.
We are never demanding customers when eating out. As a reader, you might think, “It’s just a lemon, let it go.” But from our point of view, we just ordered over 2000 SAR of food, waited over an hour for some dishes and the restaurant can’t provide a lemon? It’s such a simple thing to do and it’s not like we asked the waiter to go to Watania and buy an organic unwaxed lemon. I am well aware that most restaurants in Riyadh either have terrible food or terrible service and sometimes even both. We went in with low expectations but to have our expectations further lowered was so disappointing.
To make it worse, my friends left hungry. I didn’t want to go to another restaurant so we just ordered ful, which is the traditional street food here. We came back to my house and then the car entrance wouldn’t open so I had to walk for 250m in 6 – inch heels to get to our front door. It was the first time I wore heels in 6 months and I survived! At the same time, we had a guest in our house who brought his leopard along. Riyadh is possibly one of the few places in the world where you have to worry about leopards out for walks. The same thing happened a few days ago, when we were at a car showroom opening, and there were leopards and pet monkeys. While I was absolutely petrified to be so close to a wild cat, the little children were playing with the leopard and petting him. Thankfully the leopard was on a leash and “tame,” as otherwise, I’d hate to imagine what would happen!