Sign in using your account with
Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Salimos: Maadi Fusion Restaurant
Great fusion cuisine isn't often easy to come by in Cairo's restaurants. After a stubborn search for a dining menu with a twist, Salimos seems to fit the bill.
Upon arrival, the first surprising discovery was how empty the location was, despite it being a Thursday night. Before any hesitance could be acted upon, a friendly staff member ushered us in, asking for our seating preferences. Due to the loud television sets showing a local soccer game, we decided to sit outdoors, only to be met with a television set for every table. The fans and abundance of plants helped to keep up the atmosphere, though, and the cosier semi-circle couches were a comfortable choice.
The menus were promptly placed in front of us, and they were quite the textbooks: thick hard covers spanning across meal courses and celebrating a fusion of Spanish, Moroccan, French, Italian, Lebanese, Greek and Turkish cuisines. The menu hit a soft spot for bravely boasting fusion items such as chicken and peach spring rolls with sweet-chilli sauce (26.50LE), or Casablanca Moroccan beef with dates (64LE), which we quickly ordered. We also settled on a more standard dish, the Salimos salad (34.50LE), which featured salmon and crushed walnuts in a honey dressing.
Our drinks were served immediately, and only fifteen minutes later, all of our dishes were placed before us and the sampling began.
The spring rolls were a delicious take on the tired, oil-soggy recipe that most other restaurants offer, with peaches sweetening the flavour, and a hint of cinnamon, ginger and coriander for an extra kick. The beef was very tender, accompanied by a side of plain basmati rice and a small dish of harissa. The date sauce was highly addictive and worth sopping up the rice with, but ladling a spoonful of harissa onto the basmati was undeniably a mistake. Too smoky for its flavour to be appreciated, avoid the harissa, or at least first sample it on a small portion of rice if you must. The salad's lettuce was surprisingly crisp; a rarity among Cairene salads of wilted greens. Furthermore, the combination of smoked salmon, honey and crushed walnut was refreshing.
The waiters quickly cleared our table, and we asked for dessert, but were disappointed to hear that the curious desserts listed on the menu were not available. However, the fridge display included a handful of gateaux options, such as banana-choco, Mars, sweet potato, and walnut. Settling on a date gateau, we found it tasty but a bit too sweet. Overall, Salimos is definitely worth visiting for a relatively cheap, interesting meal, as it averages at 100LE for a full meal.
With the host looking like a bouncer guarding the exclusive entrance, this easily missed spot at the crossroads of 26th of July and Gameat El Dowal Streets looks more like a night club than a café. However, walking past the ‘bouncer’ into the café reveals a much more relaxed vibe, in grand surroundings fit for– dare we say– Mount Olympus, rather than a Cairo restaurant.
Reliefs of Greek lettering and symbols wrap around the walls and wood accents, giving the outdoor area an earthy quality. Stone flooring illuminated with blue lights and multi-level walkways make for an interesting design concept. The café has an outdoor area with dim mood lighting, regular dining tables, a bar and an open ceiling, while the indoor space is brighter and divided behind glass and air conditioned, with ivory medallions on the walls and ivory leather chairs.
At the time of our visit, the crowd included old and sophisticated and young and hip alike, though the outdoor area was twice as popular as the indoor seating. Maybe the row of flat-screen TVs playing Mazzika and a rolling Playstation unit (30LE per hour) are slightly off-putting to some. We didn’t think so; they also have free Wi-Fi; just ask for the password.
We decided to stick with the oriental/Mediterranean/Greek theme by selecting the Oriental salad (25LE). Arriving in a square dish, the mix was divided in four sections and came with a garnish of tomato and fried crispy bread that should have been already mixed into the fatoush. The rest of the fatoush was good, the predominantly cucumber portion was tangy and well-seasoned with various herbs and spices. The taboulah was well-mixed and tart, with equal portions of parsley, tomato and cracked wheat. While we must admit we’re not hummus fans, this one we could eat; and its taste was enhanced by the delicious Greek style flatbread basket. The tomeya was light, creamy and subtle enough not to create a garlic force field.
We weren’t such fans of our main course of lamb fatta (52LE): though the portion was huge, the meat was a bit bland and could have been fresher. The pulled chicken with fries, rice and roasted vegetables (49LE) was beautifully roasted, succulent and flavourful, but the vegetables came shredded on top when we were expecting them on the side. The breast was a little tough and we could have done without the plain rice.
We quenched our thirst with fresh watermelon juice (16LE), which was divine, refreshing and the best we’ve had. The Florida fruit cocktail (18LE) was thick and fruity with mango, strawberry and guava.
Dessert was an average Nutella crêpe that consisted of four rolled halves with real Nutella and a nice light cream cheese sauce with a drizzle of chocolate: not bad but a bit forgettable.
Finally, we had to sample their shisha menu: with flavours like Halls, Chicklets and Strawberry Ice, it was hard to resist. Not being big shisha smokers, we were happily content with the smoke of our Strawberry Ice (20LE) being light, though the shisha guy adjusted that soon enough and all you regular puffers would have been be just as pleased, we’re sure of it.
Overall, Eros strikes us almost as a Greek temple to the Gods, a very cool café with décor that’s definitely unique and special for Cairo.