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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Sheboya Grill House: All You Can Eat Sushi in Mohandiseen
Often leaning on the light and healthy side, sushi is usually a refreshing meal. When the words ‘all you can eat’ come into the equation, though; that fine line between decadence and indulgence becomes blurred into utter satiation. For this grill house and sushi bar in Cairo, that’s their aim.
Sheboya is located next door to L’Aroma in Mohandiseen. A quiet roundabout with loads of greenery, Ahmed Sami Said Square provides a charming setting for a late afternoon lunch. The restaurant’s interior includes plush deep booths and dim lighting, compelling you to chill out for a few minutes.
Aside from the restaurant’s main seating area is Sheboya’s clever pull: a white-tiled conveyor belt passes through the chef’s area and onto a large table with bar stools, providing fresh sushi at your fingertips.
To dine from the conveyor belt, though; you have to agree to their all-you-can-eat offer for 130LE. The possibilities for stuffing your face with sushi includes a list of maki rolls and nigiri as well as three sashimi options including white fish. As freshly prepared trays make their way around the belt; grab whatever strikes your fancy. If you like it, ask the waiter and more will roll out shortly. Alternatively, menu requests can be made if you don’t see what you want on the belt.
With patient customer service, you’ve got some room to breathe and eat to your stomach’s content. While the crabstick nigiri was a bit too strong for this reviewer’s taste, the shrimp tempura nigiri was scrumptious. Both entirely fried, the rice and shrimp are served piping hot and drizzled with a sweet soy sauce that is dangerous and addictive.
When it comes to the rolls, though; Sheboya has an edge. Under normal circumstances, small rolls are usually seen as an aggravating rip-off, but when it comes to all-you-can-eat, the rolls are manageable and well made; making the contrived process simple and quite fun. The energy roll consists of shrimp, cucumber and cheese topped with sesame seeds, chilli and caviar; providing a full palette of flavour and texture. Another favourite is the rainbow roll, with equal portions of crab, tuna, salmon and shrimp as well as avocado.
If you opt for à la carte, six-piece rolls range between 40LE to 48LE and one piece of nigiri costs around 10LE. Soups, including miso, cost between 10LE to 20LE. Although sushi seems to be the primary reason for dining at Sheboya, their grill includes standard pub grub such as chicken tenders, nachos and beef fillets (60LE to 80LE).
Prying yourself away from the passing slices might be difficult and we offer our empathy. Dining at Sheboya’s was a pleasant yet hedonistic experience that we’re still recovering from.
Although it's rarely mentioned among dining stalwarts, Makani is by no means a new kid on the Cairo dining block. Well-established in the market and having survived the introduction of a new menu not so long ago, we visited one of the chain's newer branches in New Cairo's Downtown Katameya Mall.
The new venue offers both indoor and outdoor seating, with the interior decorated with colourful tiles laid out against a light brown colour scheme. Being greeted instantly by a waiter, we requested an outdoor table and were seated on the spot. During the time of our visit, the place was mildly crowded but did not feel constricting, much to our relief.
The deli section offers all kinds of regular, uninventive dishes and safe options including soups 24LE-28LE, salads 35LE-52LE, sandwiches 24LE-47 LE and a few of pasta options, alongside some dessert delicacies. The sushi section, on the other hand, offers a well-rounded array of Sashimi options alongside all kinds of fried rolls, Nigiri, Chirashi and Hand Rolls.
Our waiter came by as soon as we called for him and took down our order of a few simple appetiser-appropriate dishes; the Chicken Caesar Salad (45LE), the Vegetable Spring Rolls (19LE) and the Shrimp Spring Rolls (28LE). He then called for the shisha waiter to take down that part of the order. For the shisha, we went for Strawberry Cream (45LE)
Our shisha arrived after a few minutes prior to the food, but thankfully neither took too long. The Strawberry Cream was a little too sweet for our taste, making a little sickly when smoked at regular pace.
The Spring Rolls, which looked quite nice and crisp, tasted just as sumptuous, without being too oily; they were also quite adequately stuffed. The salad, while certainly tasty and light, was unspectacular, though noticeably fresh.
Service-wise, everything was quite orderly and timely, with a waiter always around to take down any orders and the shisha coal being constantly maintained. It wasn’t until we asked for the check, however, that things took a turn for the worse - we had to ask for our check three times before it arrived at our table, each time the staff posturing as if it wasn't asked for.
All in all, we found Makani a lovely hangout spot, with a serene air, pleasing dishes, and adequate service. There's nothing to distinguish this branch from others, but it makes good use of its space and location.