Zamalek’s Hotel Flamenco is laced with Spanish influences, both inside and out, with whitewashed walls and unimaginatively thematic names for its restaurants, such as the Carmen Pub and the Sevilla Bar. Therefore, its Nile-view restaurant was especially intriguing, being one of a few, if not the only, Spanish restaurants in the city.

Our arrival at the empty restaurant felt like a scene out of Beauty and the Beast when the dusty dinner-wear stepped into play. We’d heard the place featured a live classical band that wasn’t there during our visit; so the restaurant played Bob Marley over the speakers instead (until we asked them to please stop). However, the view of the Nile from the restaurant’s windows was pretty spectacular, overlooking Kit Kat Square and all the houseboats, and somehow compensated.

For an appetiser course, the champinones al vino blanco (28LE) were amazingly tasty, meaty and flavourful mushrooms in a nice gravy that was perfect for bread-sopping. We were less enthusiastic about the gambas a la plancha (115LE)– not that there was anything wrong with them, but at 115LE we would have expected more than six undeveined and overcooked jumbo shrimp in garlic and herbs, with a side of roasted veggies and a scoop of what looked like leftover paella from our main dish.

For a main course, the paella Andalusia (70LE) wasn’t really paella; it arrived in a paella pan, but hadn’t been cooked in it. Again, nothing was wrong with it, but perhaps it was more of a seafood and chicken risotto dish with some parsley and herbs.

For dessert, the crema catalana (22LE) was phenomenal, pre-made and refrigerated, but still a fresh, thick and creamy custard in the style of Spanish crème brûlee. They also stocked a nice selection of both local and French wines, and all the top label liquors for various drink mixing.

Service was polite though barely there in the classic dining room that was a throwback to 70s glamour, and just a tad too hot, not having localised AC. We were left to dine intimately and peacefully watch the hectic world outside among the large chandeliers. This restaurant would be a perfect place to enjoy a fabulous Cairene sunset at, as the panorama cityscape is extraordinary.