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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Genghis Khan: Affordable Mongolian Cuisine in Maadi
You won't often come across a restaurant that serves Mongolian cuisine in Cairo. Having once seen a travel program about Mongolian cuisine and finding out they eat marmots, we were seriously hoping that this wasn’t the case at Genghis Khan in Maadi. The restaurant is located on Road 233, which has a high density of Asian restaurants and pet shops - not that we're implying anything here.
The entire front of the restaurant is made of glass, providing lots of daylight and a view of the street. There are just four tables laid out that seat a maximum of five people. On the walls we saw some interesting yet peculiar art pieces that are best described as Asian soft porn; naked ladies in titillating poses.
The menu is written in English and Mongolian; immediate relief followed when we didn’t find marmot on the menu. We tried to distinguish which dishes were specifically Mongolian but found it difficult since most dishes on the menu were just well-known Chinese ones.
As soon as you order you receive a kettle of green tea. Genghis Khan also offers soft drinks and beer; Heineken, Stella and Sakkara available ranging between 10LE and 20LE. While nibbling on fried peanuts with salt (15LE) we browsed through the menu and eventually opted for the sweet and sour chicken (35LE), beef with potato (35LE), tofu with soy sauce (25LE), rice with eggs (10LE) and noodles with shrimp (18LE).
The food arrived at our table within approximately five minutes and all of the plates were filled to the max; especially the dishes with rice and noodles – which you can easily share with two or three people. The tofu with soy sauce was a bit disappointing unfortunately; the taste of the soy sauce was lacking and the consistency of the tofu was spongy.
The beef with potato on the other hand fared better. The baked potato pieces were deliciously flavoured and it took us about three minutes to devour all of them. The beef was very salty but nevertheless tasty; combined with the potatoes, it’s enough to be a meal on its own.
The sweet and sour chicken plate was also huge. The succulent chicken pieces were drenched in a sauce that was a perfect balance between sweet and sour. The rice with eggs was good but lacked taste; though the stickiness of it made it perfect to combine with the sauces. The noodles on the other hand were slightly undercooked and tasteless.
Genghis Khan’s strongest point seems to be their potato and beef dishes. The portions come huge and are very affordable; we paid 160LE for five plates and some beverages. However, we were still left wondering what Mongolian cuisine truly is.
Located in the recently opened Porto Cairo, Le Grand Royal offers two types of outdoor seating; right in front of the restaurant’s facade and across from it overlooking the dancing fountain. Being ones who appreciate a nice view, we chose to sit right next to the fountain and were led to our table straight away.
Wanting to grab a satisfying meal after a long day at work, menus were nowhere in sight - even a few minutes after we had been seated we still had to call for them.
When the waiter arrived, he laid out two types of menus on the table; the food menu and the drinks and desserts menu. Upon inspection of said food menu, it was clear that Le Grand Royal had a lot to offer in terms of food options. Appetisers, with the Shrimp Konafa being the only item that stood out to us, steak and chicken sandwiches, pizza, burgers and all kinds of beef, chicken and seafood dishes.
The drinks offered were also extensive, with ice-cream based cocktails, fresh juices, smoothies and coffee. The desserts are exclusively western and consisted of gateaux, cheesecake, crepe and ice cream.
We opted for the Chicken Royale Pasta (42.50LE) and the Chicken Florentine (68.50LE). As for our drinks, we picked the Lemon-Mint juice (22LE).
The food didn't take long to arrive and was graciously laid out on our table within a few minutes and we began to dig into our dishes. This, of course, was the moment the dancing fountain show started and we were sprayed with water — so, don’t sit next to the fountain.
With very neat presentation, the food certainly looked appetising. The flavour, however, was lacking. Drenched in a creamy mushroom and pesto sauce, the pasta was heavy beyond words. The Chicken Florentine, meanwhile, which is basically fried chicken with a side of pasta all drenched with the same heavy creamy sauce, was even heavier. Given the fact that the chicken was already deep fried, soaking it in such a heavy sauce is just a big no-no. Our Lemon Mint juice, however, was quite the opposite; light and refreshing.
All in all, our experience at Le Grand Royal was neither terrible nor amazing; it was, to say the most, average. The overall service was quite efficient, but we couldn’t finish our plates, despite the state of hunger we were in, due to how dense they were.