A few years ago, I saw this small kiosk in front of Pizza Company in Hayat Mall named “Chimney Cake.” Based on the pictures of the chimney cakes in their posters and signages, I assumed that they were crunchy sweets reminiscent of otap (puff pastry cookie) in texture. And so I didn’t try them because I didn’t like crunchy food that much, especially those that are messy to eat. I didn’t know then that I nearly missed eating one of the best festive treats in the world. Good thing, even though the kiosk is no longer in Hayat Mall, a bigger, better (but farther) chimney cake restaurant has opened. Szia (hello), Chimney Cake Bistro!
We were invited to eat iftar in Chimney Cake Bistro one Ramadan night. The location is a bit far but we’re no longer surprised. Riyadh is truly “expanding” as most restaurant plazas nowadays are already outside the city center. We need to invest time and money to spend more money in food. Yes. The stomach always wins! Haha. I’m always grateful for my husband who drives me and my friends around. He’s just so patient in these matters, haha. He’s the official Pink Tarha driver, and a good one at that. We just need to work on his directions. Haha! Anyway… off we go to Chimney Cake Bistro!
Chimney Cake Bistro is a restaurant of your dreams… or maybe, you in a dream. The indoor and outdoor decoration in the place evokes a “chill day” in the park. A subtle Coachella vibe is going on with their pendant lights, fabric draperies, colorful pillows, and flowers… many plastic flowers! I should have brought my floral crown here and I will definitely fit in! We also liked the open kitchen part of the restaurant. We so love it, we picked a table near the cooking station of the luqaimat, a traditional Arabic mini fried dough balls covered in syrup, and also the station of their famous chimney cake.
Chimney cakes or Kürtőskalács is Hungary’s spit cake made from raised dough spun and wrapped around a truncated cone-shaped baking spit. It is roasted over charcoal while basted with melted butter. It has a shiny, crispy crust with a fluffy soft inside. It’s usually rolled in sugar or cinnamon powder but in Chimney Cake Bistro, they topped it with so much more options! The chimney cake is named as such because of the fresh, steaming cake’s shape resembles a hot chimney.
Before we go to the review of the chimney cake, which we treated as dessert during our dinner, let’s go to some of the starters and main dishes we tried. (Prices will be added later on. As usual, I got so excited with the food, I forgot to take a photo of their menu. Haha.)
One of the highlights of the restaurant last Ramadan was their freshly-made Luqaimat*, the puffy, crunchy, sweet fried dumplings of the Arabs. We saw how they cooked it and we were salivating like puppies watching the lady chef lower the balls into the hot oil and stirring them until they poof. It takes only a minute or so before she dives the ladle in again and bring the luqaimat into the waiting strainer. They divide the balls into round wooden bowls and pour in the syrup until the dumpling gets its glistening sheen. Ahhh once we popped one in our mouths, we can’t stop. The same went with the small pancakes* cooked in a greased inverted dome. They’re tiny but they pack a sweet punch! (*These items were only available during Ramadan.)
The appetizers of Cheesy Fries and Risotto Balls. The fries with dollop of gooey, melted cheese was enough to stop us in our tracks. It was really tasty. We can’t say the same with the Risotto Balls as they lack the Italian tang of one. It has more of Arabic spices that took us off guard but it’s just us; there are a lot of locals of course who will appreciate this. It has a light crunch and when our teeth dig dip, we were greeted with a soft, creamy interior of the mushed risotto. Love the texture, not much the flavor.
The Dynamite Shrimps was delicious with the right amount of sweetness and spiciness. We’re just curious as to why it’s in the menu. I mean, it looked out of place but we understood while perusing the bistro’s menu that they were all about comfort food and Dynamite Shrimps sure falls into that category. It’s a favorite of Riyadhizens and a menu is lacking when it’s devoid of this shrimp appetizer. Chimney Cake Bistro also has an Eggplant Roll that was tangy and sweet. Their Quesadilla was also packed with ingredients. R loves this Mexican dish and she savored the quesadilla with gusto. Another Mexican dish that surprised us was the Mexican Corn. It was LOVE!!! We love everything about it that until now, I’m dreaming of this corn on a cob smothered with a creamy sauce and a sprinkle of chili powder. It was amazing! I’ll have three orders of this please! Haha.
Then came the mains. First off, the Wagyu Beef Lollipops which made us curious upon reading it in the menu. It looked like this:
At the end of the sticks were pieces of tenderloin in a bed of mashed potatoes. It’s an unusual plating but it works! It’s fun to eat beef this way because it’s not too overwhelming compared to seeing a huge chunk of steak in a platter in front of us. The beef here was juicy and tender and the mashed potatoes were equally good. It was flavorful. The only downside of this dish is that it’s too expensive for the amount of meat in the plate. It looked like an appetizer rather than a main course.
Up next were the Lamb Chops that came in a griddle with a beet root sauce and Ouzi (spiced rice and meat pastry pocket). The lamb pieces looked like they were left in the grill for quite a while leaving blackened grill marks that doesn’t look appetizing. It also left the meat a bit dry and too chewy. We like the presentation though. We just wish it was cooked right. Our longing for grilled items was satisfied by the Grilled Jumbo Prawns that came next. OMG these were huge! And we love the smoky flavor bursting from the tender prawns in contrast with the milky, creamy mashed potato it came with. We’re pretty sure that these prawns are expensive so the price tag reflects that very much.
If we’re talking about drinks presentation, Chimney Cake Bistro wins! Their mocktails, iced tea and juices came in adorable mugs, tall glasses, and tea sets. Everything look so dreamy. And Instagram-worthy, definitely!
Now, let’s go to their desserts because of course, they’re named after the chimney cake and basing on how they put their spin to it, this is their sweet delicacy highlight even though they have so many cakes and pastries to choose from! The Chimney Cake came to our table standing tall, and warm. We chose the simplest flavor: Sugar and Caramel. At first we were just taking photos and looking at it with wonder. How do we eat it? The wait staff kindly helped us by brandishing a scissor. Yes, a scissor. He cut up the chimney cake from the top to bottom and then cut them into smaller pieces. We asked the caramel to be put on the side first because we don’t know how sweet the cake is.
It was heavenly! It was my first time to each a chimney cake and it was good! It was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Together, their texture was pleasing. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering too and it’s great that we can control the caramel that we put in our piece of chimney cake. It’s sooo good! It’s also great for sharing so you can cut the cost with your lunch or dinner mates. We highly recommend it.
I’m so disappointed I didn’t try this when their kiosk in Hayat Mall was still there because that was a nearer location to me. Now, I want to go back to Chimney Cake Bistro even for their chimney cake and Mexican corn alone. That’s enough reason to venture out to the outskirts of Riyadh. Chimney Cake Bistro gives that comforting feeling that brings back nothing but good memories. And I will go the distance just for that loving, comforting feeling. Haha.
Chimney Cake Bistro
Othman Bin Affan Road,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966 55 164 9416
Operating Hours: 6:00 PM to 3:00 AM