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Fuego: Delicious Sushi Now in Zamalek
Abou El Feda Street has rapidly become one of the most bustling streets of Zamalek with lots of new venues opening up lately such as Lino’s, Grizzly's and Abdel Wahab. The latest addition to the dining scene is sushi restaurant Fuego, whose original branch in Maadi has been a popular destination for sushi lovers.
The name Fuego, meaning fire in Spanish, is perhaps a bit weird for a restaurant serving primarily raw food that doesn’t exactly originate from Spain either, but with their all-you-can-eat offers, we are willing to let that little irregularity slip. The system in Fuego is as follows; on Monday and Tuesday there is all-you-can-eat-sushi for 135LE and the rest of the week it costs 150LE. The only items not included in the all-you-can-eat concept are lobster and scallops products.
The restaurant’s interior is modern pan-Asian with a lot of nature elements such as wood and stone. The tables are suitable for four persons maximum. The restaurant is not very big but because the tables are divided into booths, you still have adequate privacy. The only downside to the interior was the lighting, which was pretty dim, making it difficult to read the menu.
We went for the all-you-can-eat offer but decided to try a Wakame salad (30LE) as a starter too. When ordering the all-you-can-eat the waiter will ask you if there are specific items you don’t like and if you have any preferences. We found the Wakame salad a bit disappointing as it was very low on seaweed. Instead, more regular ingredients were used such as cucumber. However, we were happy to spot some pieces of avocado. Overall, though, the salad was a bit sub-standard.
As per requested, we received 30 sushi pieces per person. We were a bit disappointed that we didn’t receive that many Nigiri pieces, instead we got a lot of California rolls, hoso maki and ura maki rolls. The sushi all tasted very fresh and we were satisfied overall. The only thing we didn’t like was a vegetarian piece with what seemed to have lettuce inside of it. We were especially fond of the Kamikaze roll (with salmon, avocado and shrimp tempura) and the Dragon Roll (with eel, cucumber and avocado).
For dessert, we had the fried banana (20LE), which was served with vanilla ice cream. The fried banana tasted nice but we would like to advise Fuego to chop it up first and put some space between the pieces, as the meal was presented in a rather strange shape.
The staff is friendly and swift. Whenever they bring you a new plate of sushi they explain exactly what it is you’ll be eating. All in all, Fuego is very nice new option for sushi in Zamalek.
When Zamalek institution, La Bodega, closed down at the beginning of 2014, it left a hole in many a heart. While a beachside iteration has since popped up on the North Coast during Sahel Season, its closure has certainly left a gap that not even its replacement, the phenomenal U Bistro, has been able to quite replace in the same way.
But remnants still remain in the form of sister venue, Aperitivo, located on the same floor of the same building. It’s by no means similar in appearance or, one could argue, atmosphere, but La Bodega regulars have adopted it as a replacement and the spirit is very much cut from the same cloth. For those not familiar with Aperitivo, the bar and restaurant maintains a classic element in its décor and design (think wood and glass cabinets displaying various piece of crockery and ornaments) while also using various more modern pieces (the chandeliers are very cool).
Divided into two sections – the bar and the restaurant proper – there isn’t a lot that will jump out at you in its appearance; but that’s the best way to be for a venue of this standing – demure and unpretentious.
There’s been something of a revolution happening at Aperitivo as of late, including the launch of a new menu; one that walks the line between high-end culinary delicacy and the kind of wholesomeness you get with bistro food.
The concise but varied menu covers soups, salads, meat and poultry dishes, as well as pastas and seafood, which is where we began our evening.
We rarely give up the opportunity to try a dish with scallops in it – not only because it’s a rare commodity in Cairo, but because it’s also often mishandled, which felt like the case with Aperitivo’s seared scallop starter (155LE). While it was a creative and enticing dish, the scallops were slightly overcooked, the accompanying black truffle was too little, though the spiced apple puree that also accompanies the dish gave a pleasant sweetness to every bite despite tasting more like a beetroot puree. Meanwhile, four sticks of asparagus were cooked and seasoned perfectly, while a faint balsamic reduction did little to elevate the rest of the ingredients.
Among the menu’s salads, we were seduced by the camembert salad, which brought together generous chunks of deep-fried camembert cheese together with mixed greens, roasted pears, sundried tomatoes and walnuts. The greens were fresh, the sundried tomatoes added a sweet acidity to thick, pungent cheese and the walnuts gave the whole dish an earthy touch. However, the pears were undetectable, which is a real shame as it could have been the ingredient that brought everything together.
While various mains are included in the new menu, we decided to test the kitchen’s mettle with meats. Despite being served with far too much uncooked fat, a medium-cooked sirloin steak (150LE) was full of flavour and served in a very big portion, alongside some perfectly made oven baked vegetables. Our second dish, the roast veal fillet, was also of a noticeably good quality and served in a large portion, though it was unevenly cooked, meaning some pieces were a little tough and others had a perfect pink interior.
Unfortunately, there was not much else to talk about with the mains, despite the menu promising more; the veal dish, for example, should come with roast pumpkin ad soft polenta, but both were missing from the plate, as was the roasted garlic on the steak dish.
This, actually, defined our meal; what we were served was well-made, but with so much missing from both mains – as well as the missing pear from the salad – severely dwindling what promised to be a fine evening of fine dining. Would we go again? Absolutely – the new menu reads fantastically; but maybe the kitchen needs a little more time to perfect it.