If Paris Hilton is living in Riyadh, she’ll probably hang out in Tao.Tao? What is a Chinese metaphysical concept got anything to do with Paris Hilton? Well, if you exclude the Taoism concept and focus on Tao Lounge in Tahlia St., you’ll probably get the connection. Because Tao, as nondescript as its facade, is where the socialites go in Riyadh.
When I first heard about Tao, I couldn’t picture where it was in Tahlia. Asking their concierge via phone pointed me to the opposite of Localizer. Turns out, it’s the pink building with a massive silver sculpture of I-don’t know-what-that-thing-is in front. It would have been easier to direct me if the concierge mentioned that sculpture but I guess he didn’t know what that is either. I didn’t get the concept at first. Is it a Chinese restaurant? But it doesn’t look Chinese outside. I was in for a surprise when I entered.
Tao is an elegant lounge that caters to family and friends. It’s probably where the hip and cool elite hang out. With high ceilings, warm purple and yellow lights, comfy sofas and cushioned stools, and heavy, white curtains draped to the floor serving as dividers, Tao is the ultimate hangout place in Riyadh. This is where the “party” is at! This is where you take your girl friends and have fun chit-chatting the night away. (Just lower your voice a little because the divider curtain couldn’t contain loud voices and huge crowds. It couldn’t keep out cigarette smoke too.) Of course, having that exclusive vibe, reservation is a must.
The food, as expected with these kinds of places, is expensive. Being just with one friend, we only got to sample a few dishes in their international menu: their California Tao Roll, a maki that has crab sticks, cucumbers, and salmon roe, and their pesto pasta. I have to say that they’re delicious, especially the maki, but 6 pieces for SR62 just doesn’t cut it for me. I can pay that price somewhere and get more maki than I can ever consume in one night. The penne pasta has the right blend of cream and pesto; the herb not too overpowering. It’s price, SR67, doesn’t justify this dish though. If it has chicken or prawns… maybe I’ll reconsider. The starter bread with the triumvirate dips of tuna, butter, and olives is good. The juices are all right. The one I ordered named “Spa” truly has that rejuvenating and refreshing effect… it must be the wonderful mixture of pineapple, kiwi, orange, and watermelon. The desserts are stellar! We love the peanut butter ice cream, which tasted like pure peanut butter frozen fresh from its jar. The oreo mousse, loaded with the crushed cookies, is good too.
Tao is a great place to entertain your family and friends. It’s like having another elegant living room at your disposal. It’s where you can put your being a gracious host to the test. But with the superb interiors (and mirrored comfort room, no less!) and specialty food come a hefty price tag. But if money is no object, then Tao is yours to enjoy.Tao Lounge,