Summer is all but upon Cairo, and that means you can finally start to enjoy the luxury of outdoor Nile dining without worrying about your hair being ruffled by the wind. Cairo 360 is no stranger to restaurants aboard the Le Pacha 1901 boat; Le Steak, L’Asiatique, Il Piccolo Mondo, and Johnny’s have graced the pages here, and now the creatively named top deck restaurant Ontop will cease to be conspicuous by its absence.

To put this visit in context, there was a large private party of cigar-smoking fat cats and overly done-up housewives. From minute one, the staff was panicked, hurried, and a little bit overwhelmed. This of course affected the few other guests in attendance. It’s as unacceptable as it is understandable.

The menu is pretty confusing. While the appetisers range across international cuisine, the mains are predominantly Japanese. There’s something peculiar about the pricing too. Appetisers start at 50LE, and reach up to 99LE, while main courses start at 79LE, with the most expensive dish at 185LE. So theoretically, your appetiser may potentially cost more than your main. This could, however, be attributed to the fact that Ontop is setup more to be a bar than a restaurant.

The sense of chaos continued, as both truffles and the Japanese chef were unavailable. The absence of the latter meant a calamari salad would have to be prepared in a different way. So, an order of fresh calamari with a garlic and lemon marinade (45LE) was pleasant enough, while the tomatoes in a caprese salad (60LE) were disappointingly green and a little sour.

Havoc continued as the mains were brought out long before the appetisers were finished. The veal teppanyaki was overcooked and a little tough but was saved by the delicious stir-fry vegetables covered in soy sauce. Similarly, the teriyaki chicken was both dry and much sweeter than anticipated.

You can always rely on a dessert to save the day, and the crème brûlée and chocolate fondant are reasonably priced at 30LE and 28LE respectively. Needless to say, both desserts disappeared pretty soon after they’d arrived. The crème brûlée was perfectly creamy and perfectly crispy on top; and the light vanilla ice cream was perfect with the thick rich centre of the chocolate fondant.

Beverages are plentiful, with beers costing between 17.50LE and 25LE, alcoholic cocktails all at 47LE, and non-alcoholic cocktails at 20LE. The wine selection is dominated by Gianaclis, and a glass will set you back at between 30LE and 60LE.

So, like its Le Pacha brethren, Ontop fails to capture the essence of its surroundings and infuse it in the quality of food and service. Even the celestial desserts aren’t enough to keep you from feeling a little cheated as you step back onto dry land.