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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Mori Sushi & Grill: Premium Sushi Restaurant Still Retains its Quality in Mohandiseen
Long gone are the days when Sushi was a rare delicacy found in only a limited number of exclusive spots around Cairo restaurants. Now, it has become ridiculously commercial with sushi places popping up everywhere - some even named almost identically. With its increased availability and abundance of all-you-can-eat promotions, sushi restaurants have inevitably decreased in quality.
One of the first brands to launch the sushi concept in Egypt was Mori Sushi, and with a bit of caution, we revisited the Mohandessin branch in hopes of finding it still retaining its prestige. The restaurant hasn't changed its décor, which is anything but worn out, and the black, grey and orange modern Asian theme is still pretty much pristine. The place is moderately sized and boasts a few tables, as well as an open kitchen in the back.
We were immediately greeted by a friendly waiter who led us to our spotless table, that already had all the cutlery laid on it; quite a lovely and professional touch. Our menus were laid out instantaneously, and as always, they were well-organised and looked quite posh.
The sushi menu is pretty much the same as it has always been; brimming with endless options of Nigiri, Ura Maki, Dynamite and Hot Tempura rolls as well as Sashimi options amongst many others. The grill menu, however, did feature a few new items including a couple of burgers, and some delicious-sounding chicken dishes such as the Brazilian Chicken Thighs (60LE).
Our order was served in a surprising few minutes despite its intricacy. Our sushi platters looked picturesque as always and tasted absolutely fresh. Our absolute favourite rolls were the Pink Panther Roll (39LE/ 4 pieces), the Kiwi Rainbow Roll (39LE/4 pieces), and the Crispy Shrimp and Avocado Roll (40LE/4 pieces).
The real surprise, however, was the grill section. The Rib Eye steak (95LE), drenched in Wild Mushrooms Sauce (9LE) was heavenly, and grilled to our requested medium-well. The Sizzled Chicken Breasts (60LE), which consisted of chicken chunks drenched in Soy Sauce and seasoned with various peppers, was also quite delectable despite being quite scarce in its size. Its side of vegetable rice was also bursting with flavour.
Our waiter continued to be quite helpful, amicable and never out of sight. Our empty dishes were not left lingering on our table, but were removed in a flash.
In a nutshell, Mori Sushi has successfully managed to avoid the pitfalls of most sushi restaurants nowadays. While the novelty of sushi has long worn off, Mori has been able to maintain a level of quality and service unlike any other restaurant. While the rolls were expensive, they were equally delicious, and the grill section exceeded every expectation we had.
When we heard about Mori Sushi’s new menu, we expected maybe five or six new rolls and maybe an extra appetiser and a dessert – but boy, we were wrong. The new menu had more than 20 items, ranging from an exquisite selection of Mojitos and delicious appetisers like baby shrimp Bonbons and Tako Salad, to delicious rolls with Hawaiian, Indian and Italian flavours.
While taking our time to check out the menu at the Mohandiseen branch, we ordered a Mojito Passion (30LE); a mixture of pineapple, passion fruit syrup, sprite, mojito syrup, lemon slices and fresh mint, the super refreshing drink passion had exotic flavours that sent us straight to a tropical island and is big enough for two to share. There were several new interesting appetisers, but Mori’s Tacos (59LE) was something we couldn’t miss. Four mini tortilla bread tacos filled with a sashimi salad made of mini cubes of fresh white fish, salmon, and tuna, the Tacos were bursting with a ginger flavour that complimented the sweetness of the fish and the taco shells added a contrasting crunchy texture to the meaty and lean salad.
Of the new rolls, we started with the Biso Roll (59LE half portion). Drizzled with a little teriyaki, this special Ura Maki roll was filled with soft wiggly-textured scallop, avocado and cream cheese – everything quite normal sushi ingredients. The extra touch, though, is that they are coated in corn flakes crumbs, which is commonly used in their new items. The roll was perfectly executed, but the aroma of the corn flakes with the sweet teriyaki in particular deserves a standing ovation. Moving to some of the fried sushi, we tried the Hot Panko Roll (87LE), with came as eight pieces of Ura maki roll filled with shrimp tempura, cream cheese and asparagus, coated with a Panko crust, topped with caviar and drizzled with their mouth-watering signature spicy lemon mayonnaise sauce. Asparagus is another ingredient that you’ll find in the new items, and in this roll it lightened things up, while the Panko crust added a scrumptious crunch. The Spicy Lemon Roll’s position as everyone’s favourite Mori roll is could well be in danger.
Taking a break between rolls, we also tried the Jalapeno Sake Platter (69LE); thin slices of salmon topped with green and red chilli pepper, chives and smothered in ponzu– a citrusy and tangy soy sauce- and jalapeno sauces. The balance in flavours was super impressive, starting from the bold chive flavour, to the mild heat from the chilli, and the citrusy ponzu sauce worked really well with the salmon. Another thing that surprised us was the Hot Indian Roll (77LE). Served with sweet chilli sauce, the six rolls, which were wrapped in spring roll sheets, were filled with salmon and shrimp bursting with curry flavour. The salmon and shrimp were a bit crumbly, but the flavours were on point. The real question here, is this should be considered a sushi roll or an appetiser
Now let’s talk about the Lasagna Roll (54LE half portion) – yes you read that right, LASAGNA ROLL. This Ura Maki roll filled with mozzarella cheese, asparagus, and shrimp had light and fresh flavours, while the sweet heat from the Sriracha and the richness of Mori’s sesame sauce complimented the delicate fillings without overpowering it. Sorry if you were expecting minced beef, lasagna sheets, and melted mozzarella cheese. We also tried the Gunkan Crispy Sake (23LE per piece). Made up of sushi rice surrounded with avocado, topped with diced salmon mixed with spicy mayo and Panko crumbs for some crunch, what makes the Gunkan special is Mori’s new-style rice, which is infused with dill, coriander, spring onion and pine nuts. The only thing that tainted it a little is that it was rather big and difficult to handle. Overall, though, we would love to have Mori’s new style rice as an option in some of the classic rolls because it was that good.
Rounding off our feast, we saved the Toyo Roll (28LE per piece) for last. Made up of sushi rice and salmon topped with cream cheese, the highlight here is the additional raspberry and blueberry bits that added sweet, sour and tart flavours. It’s one of the more unique of the new items, though it was also meant to have a slice of kiwi on it, which seems to have got lost on its way from the kitchen.
Few people could have expected so many new items, but, at the time of our visit, the more impressive thing was that they were all executed well and even with the stranger rolls, it all worked. Mori has raised the bar, offering seemingly endless variety and impressive flavour combinations.