When news spread that Cairo restaurant Sabai Sabai was closing its doors, Zamalek residents feared that they’d need to leave the island to satisfy their pad Thai and coconut milk curry cravings. However, the venue quickly reopened as the Thai Elephant. Now, Zamalek residents just need to leave the island for good Thai food.

Next to the Nile Zamalek Hotel and popular hangout Pour Vous, Thai Elephant is an eclectically decorated eatery. Although the venue has space for outdoor seating, customers are almost always urged to sit inside. While there are usually never more than a few full tables in the spacious dining room, the persistent wait staff will seat customers close together; preventing patrons from having an intimate experience at the Thai Elephant.

Customers are immediately presented with a large bottle of water (9LE) and miniature fried spring rolls as a gift from the chef. The vegetarian amuse bouche is served piping hot alongside cool sweet and sour sauce; and is sure to be one of the high points of dining at this restaurant. If you can’t get enough of this savoury starter, a full order can be had for 10LE. Appetisers include several varieties of spring rolls, fried shrimps and soups, all ranging from 10LE to 30LE. A popular Thai dish, coconut milk broth soups are available with either chicken or vegetables. While the broth itself is tasty, the added ingredients actually subtract from the soup’s quality.

Although a long list of main courses exists at Thai Elephant, we suggest sticking to the simpler dishes on offer. The vegetarian green curry (29LE) is filled with lightly fried, firm tofu and a variety of vegetables including carrots, courgettes, mushrooms and broccoli. The tofu and carrots are satisfactory, the broccoli is actually quite fresh and tasty, but the courgettes are waterlogged and the mushrooms are canned. Thankfully, the green curry sauce has a nice kick and a rich flavour. Rice is not included; so expect to pay 7LE to make a full meal out of this dish.

The shrimp pad Thai (39LE) is not the best rendition of this Thai cuisine staple. The noodles are cooked fine and the shrimp is perfectly average, but the dish lacks an overall quality of freshness and has a slightly funky smell.

Overall, this isn’t the best Thai joint in Cairo, and it is rather overpriced for the quality and quantity of food, easily reaching 250LE for a simple meal for two. Still, if you’re in the neighbourhood and need to satisfy your Thai craving quickly; Thai Elephant will nearly get the job done.