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Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
La Maison Blanche: High-End Dining in Giza
Even though restaurants in Cairo are in abundance, some often lack in quality, while others have bad service or zero atmosphere. La Maison Blanche in the First Mall on the other hand takes you to a dazzling world where everything is in harmony, from the meticulous décor to the fine quality of the food.
La Maison Blanche is set in the perfect surrounding of Cairo’s ultimate luxury haven. Located on the riverside of the building, the restaurant has a calming view of the Nile. The interior is bright white with bubble-like glass lamps and a few colourful photos of vegetables on the walls. There are low seating areas and high tables to choose from. The first part of the restaurant is laid out like a like a lounge and has a fireplace along the lengths of the wall; it’s the perfect spot to enjoy one of their many available cigars. The second part has a white bar for indulging in cocktails and the third part allows for dinner.
The menu has several cuisines. There is a sushi menu, a Middle Eastern menu and a French menu. Though La Maison Blanche might have a reputation for being one of the more expensive restaurants in the city, it can be quite affordable depending on which menu you order from. Starters range between 35LE and 200LE so it’s up to you how far you want to push the boat out. There is also a set French four-course menu for 220LE.
To start we chose the terrine de foie gras au natural (200LE) and the ravioli aux gambas (65LE). The duck had a light mango jelly topping and came with toast and salad on the side, but eating the foie gras as pure as possible is the best way appreciate its flavour. The ravioli was fresh with a rich shrimp filling; the best part however, was the zesty shellfish velouté which accented the dish.
The filet de loup de mer (125LE) was perfectly baked but although the menu promised it was served with mascarpone cheese and we had trouble detecting it. The side of risotto with the sharp tapenade complemented the mild tasting fish well. The filet de veau rôti (135LE) was grilled well and came with puréed sweet potatoes as well as green beans and shallots. The meat was tender and tasty and we found the sweet potato to be an original side that we hadn’t seen before in Cairo.
For dessert we had the crumble rhubarb et framboise (40LE). The rhubarb was topped with a delicious raspberry mousse and is best eaten along with the crumble for it not to be too sour. The tarte au citron (40LE) is also a refreshing dessert but once again should be eaten with the crust and ice cream to avoid being overly sour.
The staff are polite and are quick to take your orders and refresh your drink, while there is live entertainment on most nights. La Maison Blanche is the perfect place to take someone you would like to impress. The best part about the restaurant though is that their menu has options found nowhere else in Cairo.
In a city like Cairo, diminishing daily meals to a fast bite here and there can often be the case – and the Cairo dining scene is largely set-up for exactly that. But from time to time, we all like elevate eating to a much more refined experience.
French boulangerie, Paul, has found a welcome home in Cairo over the last few years and the branch in Downtown Katameya Mall in New Cairo is just one of many.
During our visit, it was fairly crowded when we entered, and no one greeted or seated us. The outside seating area, overlooking the fountain, was filled with hungry customers and so we reluctantly walked in and chose one of the few empty tables available indoors in Paul’s signature blend of French artisan cafe decor and furnishings.
A waitress immediately came by our table and placed the tableware as well as the menu. The beautifully designed menu was absolutely alluring; we wanted to devour every single item on there. From hearty soups to light salads and sandwiches to full-on main courses and sinful pastries, the place has it all.
Wanting to stick to our plan of having a light brunch, we settled for a Pesto Chicken Sandwich (59LE), requesting a brown instead of white baguette, Pain Au Chocolat et Pistaches (17LE), and a Chocolate Crepe (35 E). For drinks, we opted for some fresh Orange Juice (20LE)
A couple of seconds after our waitress took our order, we were brought a complimentary basket of freshly baked bread with butter and olive paste. The bread was amazing and the olive paste definitely awakened our taste buds. The service was astonishingly swift and the food was gracefully laid on our table within minutes of ordering it.
The sandwich was absolutely lip-smacking satisfying, although slightly lacking in Pesto sauce. The crepe was fluffy, light, drizzled in delicious chocolate and topped with a scoop of sweet Vanilla ice cream. The Pain au Chocolat et Pistaches tasted freshly-baked, and was surprisingly light despite being filled with chocolate and topped with powdered sugar and pistachios. Finally, the orange juice was fresh, but unfortunately a bit too warm for our liking; some ice was definitely called for.
While the service was quick and pretty impressive, it was slightly over the top. At times it felt like we were being rushed with our tableware being lifted the second we put our forks down.
All in all, Paul offered us a lovely, authentically French dining experience. The service, despite being a bit too pushy, was quick and efficient and the food’s quality, taste and look were unbelievably close to perfection. À bientôt, Paul; we’re coming back soon.