When one hears the mention of a hotel restaurant in Cairo, images of quality, perfection, and impeccable service come to mind; along with fantasies of sumptuous food and good music in. Unfortunately though, Asia Boutique in Dokki fails to meet these expectations.

An outlet of the Safir Hotel, the restaurant is located right behind a centrepiece where two musicians – one a pianist and the other a trumpeter – are set up.

Once inside the restaurant, our first impression was of how disorganised the space is. There are two bars, on each side of the restaurant, with no one standing behind either of them. Don’t be surprised if you feel somewhat deserted, because the restaurant was almost entirely empty during our visit. The lighting was quite bright, which made us wonder if we came before they had time to prepare.

The atmosphere at Asia Boutique was not the most relaxing with distracting music playing in the background. Moreover, the fact that the tranquil music being played outside was still audible makes you feel that you are in a somehow bipolar setting.

Despite all that, Asia Boutique serves delicious Thai, Japanese, and Chinese dishes. We ordered Tom Kha Khai soup (35LE), vegetable spring rolls (32LE), Thai fried noodles with chicken, vegetables and egg (48LE), sweet and sour chicken with basmati rice (65LE), and for dessert, banana pie with caramel and lemon sauces (40LE).

The Tom Kha Khai soup had chicken and coconut milk; it was delicious, tasting like a traditional chicken soup. Although it had many ingredients in it they were all balanced perfectly. Even its thick consistency was right – not too creamy and too watery. The vegetable spring rolls came in threes and were served with hot sauce and endive lettuce- the ideal way to enjoy them.

Moving on to our main courses, the Thai fried noodles with chicken were not as good as the sweet and sour chicken. They came with quite a bit of sesame added, which had a strong flavour and made the dish taste dry. The second item fared better where the combination of fruit and vegetables was perfect.

We opted for the banana pie with caramel and lemon sauces; however, it wasn’t what we thought it would be. What we had in mind was a cold banana with caramel and lemon toppings. Instead, we were served a fried banana with no sauce but a scoop of ice cream that had coconut and nuts added to it. Nonetheless, it was pleasingly sweet; the combination of cold ice cream and hot banana was delightful.

Asia Boutique may have failed to meet our expectations as a restaurant in a big hotel but it still satisfied our appetites with delicious and meticulously cooked food.