Cairo Restaurants Guide - Restaurants reviews in Egypt

Cairo Restaurants

Chicken Fil-A: Can Local Restaurant Compete with the Big Boys of Fast-Food?
Published On: 21/08/2016

Remember when we used to order pasta from Tomato Street and sandwiches from Wesaya? Yes, it's been a while since we've seen a new Egyptian fast food chain, which made the arrival of Chicken Fil-A all the more intriguing. There's not much to be said for a fast-food dine-in experience and, let's face it, fast food is all about delivery, so we ordered in. Chicken Fil-A's menu is all about fried chicken sandwiches, with the exception of a dish that brings together grilled chicken with their Flying Rice (15LE-30LE), and they also have a fair amount of sides and desserts. Sadly, however, Chicken Fil-A failed the delivery and customer service test; after receiving the order after an hour and a half, our complaints were met with sarcasm. It wasn't a great start, but we were hoping for better with the food. The sandwiches are largely very similar with just different toppings, so we decided to go classic with the Fil-A Deluxe (28LE) with a side of Hell Fries (19LE). The sandwich came as three pieces of fried chicken strips topped with 'French cheese' and lying over a bed of lettuce, tomato and the restaurant's special sauce, but what was far from what we saw on the menu. The chicken had a very soggy and slightly burnt crust and we couldn't tell what type of 'French' cheese was used, due to how little there was of it, but on the bright side, the chicken was very tender, the bread and the veggies were fresh, and the amount of 'special' sauce – which tasted suspiciously like mayonnaise - was spot on. Coated with Chicken Fil-A's special spices, the fries, meanwhile, were topped with cheddar cheese sauce, slices of jalapeno pepper and hell sauce. We really couldn't feel the presence of the spices due to the overpowering spiciness of the jalapeno and the 'hell sauce', which turned out to be sriracha sauce. As for the cheese sauce itself, it had a good consistency, but it was on the bland side in term of flavours. We also couldn't not go for one of 'Akbar Sandwiches Frakh Fe Mas' (the biggest chicken sandwiches in Egypt); between the The Godzilla (38LE) and The Fil (40LE), we went for the latter. After a rough start, The Fil saved the day. Two pieces of chicken fillet are stuffed with American cheese and served in a soft burger bun, alongside tomato, lettuce, and again their 'special sauce' aka mayo. The quality and the flavours of The Fil are very similar to Hardee's' Big Chicken Fillet, only it's much, much bigger and the layers in the Fil make for a pretty picture. We finished things off with Red Velvet Oreo (15LE) and Watermelon Fil-A Cooler (12LE). The dessert consists of five pieces of deep-fried, red velvet batter-coated Oreo pieces, sprinkled with sugar and served with cream cheese dip. Unfortunately the dough was very dense and chewy, and the cream cheese dip was too thick to be a dip. Somehow, though, the flavours were interesting enough and it just needed better execution. As for the Fil-A cooler, it was simply a can of 7up served with 2 tablespoons of watermelon syrup – the less said about that, the better. Overall, despite its crowd pleasing concept and the potential gap fin the market for local fast-food, it's Chicken Fil-A's poor execution that could see it go the way of Tomato Street and Wesaya.

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Kazlak: Maadi Restaurant Continues to Raise the Bar for Local Dining Scene
Published On: 16/08/2016

From burgers and gourmet Oriental food, to Lebanese restaurants and everything chocolate; the food industry in Egypt started to become a little bit repetitive and it's obvious that many restaurateurs are looking to play it safe and follow trends. However, grill house and smokery, Kazlak, is one restaurant that took a risk by going in a different direction than any other restaurant in Egypt. Kazlak's concept is all about the simple local products used in innovative ways. Their plates are brought from El Fostat, almost every single ingredient you'll eat is home grown and even the wooden pizza pans are made from trees in Halayeb and Shalateen. Located inside the Courtyard in Maadi, Kazlak is surrounded by mostly cafes and casual diners, so it stands out with its simple yet chic interior. From the simple touches of wood studs, the stone wall and the curtain wall facade overlooking the Courtyard stage, to the live pizza station and the fantastic choice of colours, the whole place has a village house-like interior, boasting a chilling and relaxing ambiance in a simple yet elegant way. Let's get down to business; we kicked things off with Sparkling Strawberry (27LE) and complimentary fresh toasted bread with garlic dip. The drink was a simple mix strawberry juice mixed with sparkling club soda, but was super refreshing and had a perfect ratio of juice to soda. For our appetisers, we went with Shrimp & Bisk Espuma (44LE); a mixture of baby shrimp and caramelised onion with a hint of shrimp bisque, all covered with smooth potato mousse. Boasting similar flavours to an onion soup, the mixture had a gravy-like consistency that worked perfectly with the potato mousse, and the little drizzle of balsamic vinegar complimented the dish with its sweet and acidic touch. We also tried the Three-Layered Beef Potato Salad (47LE); beef slices infused with peanut butter sauce laying over potato salad and topped with shredded lettuce, beef bacon, black olive and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. With an impressive diversity in textures and flavours, the potato salad didn't have that overpowering mayonnaise taste to it and the potato had a little bite to it, while the beef bacon was bursting with balsamic vinegar flavours, and everything just tasted so fresh. However, the peanut butter sauce – possibly the most interesting element of the dish – was overshadowed by the rest of the flavours. Moving to the mains, we opted for the Duck Two Way (120LE). Despite the fact that we were served two pieces of duck cooked in the same way with a side of gnocchi and ginger glaze which made us feel like it was more of a mix-and-match duck platter, we enjoyed every bit of this dish. The perfectly cooked breast on its own had great flavours, but the hint of sweetness and the ginger pieces in the ginger glaze took the duck to a whole new level of deliciousness. The duck leg, meanwhile, was super tender and just as delicious as the breast, while the zesty gnocchi in the creamy lemon sauce worked well as a side. We also tried the Short Ribs (130LE), which were served with a side of super cheesy and gooey bowl of Mac and Cheese and perfectly cooked sautéed vegetables spiced with sweet basil. The fall-off-the-bone beef short ribs, meanwhile, had an out-of-this-world smoky flavour due to the slow smoking method, and the fried onion on top and BBQ sauce on the side just boosted the smokiness and sweetness of the beef. The whole dish was flawless and showed a lot of skill in the kitchen. We then finished our meal with Hot Chocolate Mousse (31LE). Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a separate cup, the hot chocolate mousse was like a volcano of luscious dark chocolate with a super gooey centre and soft, cakey edges, but we felt that the ice cream didn't really add much, especially that the gooey centre had a similar texture to melted ice cream. All in all, we were incredibly impressed, not only by the food, but also by Kazlak's strong identity and clear level of quality – a level that all restaurants should aim to achieve. 

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Oya Lounge: Underrated Mohandiseen Restaurant Still Going Strong
Published On: 15/08/2016

With the never-ending expansion in Cairo's dining scene, it would be fair to recognise a restaurant chain's success by the number of branches it has. But quite often, the first of a string of branches, especially with local chains, falls by the wayside – not Oya Lounge, however. Already highly underrated, Oya Lounge – located just off of Mohandiseen's Mostafa Mahmoud Square – recently opened a new branch in Downtown Mall, New Cairo, but not at the expense of its original branch. Entering what only can be described as a club-like entrance with crowd control red velvet ropes, Oya's spacious outdoor area encourages a feeling of comfort with its big sofas and hanging swing chairs that enhanced the ambiance and provided visitors with a playful dining experience. On the contrary, the indoor area is relatively small but boasts the same perky ambiance with its coloured shutters decorating the walls. Food-wise, Oya Lounge is an international cuisine restaurant with a menu that also includes an entire section for Oriental dishes, as well as desserts. Excited about some international dishes, though, we went for Chicken Tandoori (78LE) and Fillet Argentina (98LE) for our mains, each served with two sides of our choosing. Within a couple of minutes of placing our order, we were served with what we thought was a complementary bread basket – only to find it was included on the bill for 8LE. Served with a spot-on basil ranch dipping sauce with diced olives, the bread came hot out of the oven, airy and light – the 8LE was worth it in the end. Twenty minutes later, our mains arrived. Starting with the Chicken Tandoori, it was comprised of small chunks of moist and well-seasoned chicken breasts and smothered with a creamy, pinkish-coloured sauce with a spot-on consistency and garnished with coriander. With a toothsome mix of wilted zucchini, red beans, mushrooms, green beans, red beans and carrots lying next to super thin and crispy fries, just the way we like it, the Chicken Tandoori was remarkable. Moving on to the Fillet Argentina, it was an equally impressive dish. Consisting of chunks of tender and juicy meat cooked well done, the meat was covered with well-seasoned and tasty sweet and sour sauce mixed with coloured peppers, mushrooms and sweet corn. Served with a side of al dente pasta smothered in the richest, silkiest white sauce and garnished with coriander, the entire ensemble was a masterpiece. Hoping for an equally delicious dessert experience, the dessert section had some basic dishes from both East and West, including Nutella Crepe, Oreo magnet and Twix Tart as well as koskosy with nuts and Om Ali. We opted for the Oreo Magnets (40LE) which was comprised of crushed Oreos topped with a large scoop of melting vanilla ice cream, covered with another layer of crushed Oreos and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce – a mouth watering dessert which we enjoyed to the last bite. As our night came to an end, we decided to try out Oya's Blueberry flavoured shsiha (36 L.E), which had a rich flavour and was promptly tended to. We often talk about consistency being the key to a restaurant's long-term success and though the brains behind Oya Lounge have been stretched a little thinner with their new branch, the original still offers well-executed dishes and quick service, providing an unexpectedly enjoyable dining experience.

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La Bodega Marassi: Quiet, Understated Sahel Dining
Published On: 10/08/2016

If, like what feels like half a million Egyptians, you're also spending your summer on the North Coast, chances are you've noticed how far the dining scene has come along. Instead of a handful of restaurants (remember how there was only Andrea and Samakmak for a few years?), you now have, well, everything and everyone: food trucks, ice cream vans, chic dining, beach restaurants; you name it, it's here. If your idea of a good meal out doesn't involve ear-bleedingly loud music and rubbing shoulders with scantily clad, worryingly young hipsters posing for group snapchats, you should head to La Bodega in Marassi. This long-time Cairo dining institution may have shut down its Zamalek location (its sister restaurant, Aperitivo is still operating), but it's alive and kicking in Marassi. Located in front of the Marassi Golf Academy overlooking a wide, open, golf lawn, La Bodega is completely off the beaten track – in fact, this reviewer would have completely missed it if it weren't for a tiny sign on the main road leading to the Marassi clubhouse – and in a quiet, dimly lit location that means you actually get to see the stars while dining. Although it's open from noon onwards till 4.30AM, the restaurant was still pretty empty when this reviewer showed up at 9PM on a weekend. As most nights in Sahel start extremely late, this was hardly suprising, and we did enjoy having the waiters' attention and the place to ourselves. Music was played at a decently low volume, allowing us to have a long, relaxed meal with easy conversation and an opportunity to enjoy the view while melting slowly in the heat. Unable to digest anything heavy due to the 30-something-degree night, we opted for the beef carpaccio (60LE) and caprese salad (70LE), which arrived cool with the standard flavours of mozzarella with pesto and balsamic, and we washed both dishes down with well-cooled local white wine. For mains, one member of the party opted for the Mixed Seafood (165LE), a plate of fresh and straight-off-the-skillet grilled shrimps and fried calamari, served with a sour cream-type sauce and a rosemary garnish as well as white rice. Even though the plan was to avoid heavy dishes, our other party member went rogue and ordered the grilled beef fillet (95LE) served in a dark pepper sauce and a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables. Unable to even think of dessert, we tried their daiquiri and vodka martinis (around 55LE) as another attempt to cool down, and sipped while enjoying the calm surroundings and pleasant skyline. We're told that the place really picks up after midnight with a DJ playing into the early hours of the morning and people booking up every single weekend for a chance to party at La Bodega. While we didn't see this during our visit, we were happy to find solace and a pleasant, albeit predictable, meal in this restaurant. La Bodega has a nostalgic ring to many Cairene diners, including this reviewer, so it was nice to see the same menu, quality of service and atmosphere recreated here in Sahel. This is definitely a restaurant to head to if you're looking for understated elegance, a mature crowd and dependable cuisine in Sahel. 

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The Smokery at El Gouna Yacht Club: Sun, Sea, & Salmon
Published On: 07/08/2016

If you're familiar with the Egyptian dining scene, you'll know that sustainability is not really our strong point – quality is hit and miss, and sometimes even restaurants that have solid reputations and have been around for ages can disappoint. Case in point: if you're a regular Gouna dinner, you may find yourself disappointed with what's offered these days. However, we were pleasantly surprised – and relieved – to discover that the Smokery at El Gouna Yacht Club lives up to its billing. Located towards the far end of Abu Tig Marina (on the opposite side of the new Marina to Mori Sushi, et al), the Smokery is situated right next to the marina's lighthouse, so of course we chose to sit outdoors and admire the view despite the sweltering August heat. Craving something cold and salty, we completely bypassed their mise-en-bouche selection (35LE to 250LE) of cheese bites and fried seafood nibbles, and we went straight for their Salmon Fiesta; a selection of salmon bites including chunks of raw salmon steak, smoked salmon wraps and salmon sushi wrapped in seaweed. By the time we'd finished this generous dish and the tasty smoked fish dip they'd brought along with breadsticks, we all stared at each other in dismay. We were full. And we hadn't even got to the main course yet. Ignoring our stomachs and better judgement, we continued forth, and not ones to break with tradition, we ordered more salmon mains: the grilled salmon steak served with veggie nicoise and basil (around 140LE), the salmon carpaccio (85LE) and, for a change, the shrimp tempura. By this point, we were honestly frothing at the mouth from overeating, but you could hardly blame us: the salmon was so delicious and astoundingly fresh, we realised that all the other salmons we'd ever had now paled in comparison. If anything, we found that we could happily eat the Smokery salmon raw or smoked, with barely any garnish or side dishes necessarily. Not ones to give up easily or wisely, we ordered the chocolate soufflé for dessert, which we spooned – groaning at the effort – into our tired mouths. Despite the suffocating heat, the hot chocolate was a welcome change to the salmon, although the portion could have been better. Yes, despite eating ourselves sick, the chocolate could have been bigger. With impeccable, attentive service and a lovely outdoor setting, the Smokery makes for a quiet, classy dining destination in Gouna when you don't want to have the DJ music and Friday night festival bands hammering into your ears. For four appetisers, two mains, one dessert and two glasses of wine, the bill totalled around 900LE; not exactly cheap but nonetheless a quality and refreshing dining experience in Gouna. 

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Boulevard: Dire Dining at Point 90 Mall
Published On: 03/08/2016

Restaurants have the ability of making their visitors feel like they're in a totally different location via decor rand setting to set a certain tone for the evening along with its chosen culinary style. With an esthetic coming straight out of The Great Gatsby movie, Boulevard boasts a classic twentieth century design – favouring the 1940's – with wood covering almost everything from the furniture to the walls; it was cosy with a sense of class in Point 90 Mall, New Cairo. Boulevard offers a mostly European cuisine, ranging from pasta and pizza from Italy, to a Veal Schnitzel house special from Germany, and has something for everyone. We opted for the Tex-Mex fries (40LE) accompanied by the Trio platter (61LE) as a start after looking into the extravagant menu, and even though restaurant was almost empty – aside from a table or two – the plates arrived fashionably late. Coming on a sizzling skillet, the Tex-Mex fries came covered with minced beef and cheese, topped with slices of jalapenos. Unfortunately, they were a bit disappointing as the fries seemed like the off-the-shelf kind – even though it said house cut fries in the menu – and were made very thin and bland. Unusually seasoned, the beef had a gamey flavour, topped by a mix of mozzarella and pecorino cheese which worked well with each other, but not with the rest of the other ingredients of the dish. The Trio platter, meanwhile, had a mix of mozzarella rolls, chicken strips and fish fingers alongside three different sauces; marinara, honey mustard and thousand island. The nugget-sized chicken strips were well seasoned with a crunchy exterior contrasted by a tender interior and were the best thing about the platter. Though breaded nicely, the Mozzarella rolls had an unpleasant aftertaste which seemed like it wasn't fresh, while the fish fingers had a satisfying crispy shell, but fell flat as they were too salty and felt like a fish out of water – pun not intended – compared to the other elements in the dish. For our main course, we decided to get the house special, Veal Schnitzel (112LE), alongside the Beef with mixed cheese sauce (121 LE) and the Cheese Burger (51 LE), washing them down with Watermelon (28LE) and Mango (30LE) smoothies, as well as the interestingly named Strawberry Ago Go (30LE). Moving on to the beef with mixed cheese sauce, we opted for white rice and some fries as sides. The rice was Egyptian white rice which was nicely cooked, but bland, almost flavourless and poorly presented. The beef, on the other hand, was great, with an earthy aftertaste which worked well with the mixed cheese sauce, which was gooey and creamy. Coming as one huge piece, the veal schnitzel was served with lemon sauce boat some fries. Despite being given the option of choosing our sides with the previous dish, the fries were mandatory and were similar to the ones in the Tex-Mex fries - unseasoned and bland - while the schnitzel was oily, which made it heavy and didn't work with the lemon sauce at all, which led to another disappointing dish. Finally, the cheese burger; the bread was fresh, though much bigger than the patty itself, which tasted more like eastern sausage than a burger due to its unusual seasoning which – again – disappointed us, covered with melted cheddar cheese. As for the drinks, the watermelon smoothie, though refreshing, tasted watered down compared to the smooth mango smoothie, which had a rich flavour and thick texture; however, the Strawberry Ago Go, which had a mix of strawberry and banana, was had too much milk and the banana flavour overpowered almost everything else. Hoping to satisfy our sweet tooth, we opted for the Raspberry-white choco cookie dough (46 LE) which came in a bowl filled with hot chocolate chip cookie dough topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, some white chocolate pieces and raspberry syrup. The cookie was gooey and was enhanced with the smoothness of the vanilla ice-cream and the contrasting sourness of the raspberry syrup, turning it a well-rounded dessert, which had us savouring every bite - a sweet end to a mixed evening. In the end we were disappointed as Boulevard has many aspects that going for it, like a great concept, a well thought-out menu and a comfortable venue; however the less than average execution and lack of communication within an already inattentive staff, were a recipe of issues that are dragging the restaurant to a worrying direction.

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Gabriel: New Heliopolis Branch of Italian Restaurant Fails to Impress
Published On: 03/08/2016

Having been used as a shooting location in TV series, I Want a Man, one would expect high-end Italian restaurant, Gabriel, to be something special. However, after a visit to its second branch on Heliopolis' El Nozha Street, we're not so sure. With a spacious outdoor area comprised of colourful classical upholstered chairs and sofas (which are the exact replica of the aesthetic of Oriental restaurant, Waraa Enab, which is located inside of Gabriel's Mohandiseen branch) and a two storey indoor area with the exact same black and gold themed décor of the first branch, Gabriel El Nozha certainly catches the eye. Gabriel's menu boasts a varied selection of dishes covering soups, pasta, steak, pizza and sandwiches. Skipping the starters, we decided to go straight for the mains, opting for Riagtoni Shrimp pasta (57.90LE) and Grilled chicken with curry sauce (69.90LE) served with two sides of our choosing from sautéed vegetables, fries, pasta or rice. Twenty minutes after placing the order, our mains arrived hot out of the oven. Smothered in a smooth and silky curry sauce with a spot-on consistency, the chicken dish was comprised of three medium-sized pieces of tender to the touch and well-seasoned grilled chicken breasts. The only mishap to the toothsome dish was the two sides of undercooked sautéed vegetables and white rice. Stuffed with plenty of seasoned shrimps and crispy fried calamari rings, the Rigatoni shrimp pasta was cooked al dente and covered with rich in flavour tomato cream sauce with a hint of garlic, basil and parmesan cheese that perfectly complemented the taste. Craving something sweet after our dinner, we were disappointed that the only available dessert at the time of our visit was the chocolate brownie, which took one of the staff members over ten minutes to check its availability. Already turned off by it being the only available option, the brownie cake came cold with a bland taste and no chocolate sauce. The only perk of this overall tasteless dish was the big scoop of vanilla ice cream topping the cake, which also wasn't covered with any sauce. We washed down the average meal with mango-kiwi flavoured shisha (40LE), the flavours of which perfectly mingled together; however, the 'shisha guy' didn't tend to it promptly which almost burned the tobacco and lead to a loss in flavours after a short period of time. We expected a lot more from Gabriel than what we found and, even though some items were well-executed, the mishaps we encountered during our visit overrode the positives.

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MINCE: Breakfast with a Twist at Burger Branch's Zamalek Branch
Published On: 02/08/2016

When Mince introduced breakfast, desserts and drinks to its menu, the chain's flagship branch in Zamalek missed out on account of it being too small. Thankfully, that's not the case anymore following the move to its new branch on the island, which brought with it the full menu. Located at El-Maraashli Street, opposite the old branch, the new space might seem to be just as small, but it's actually much wider; there's a hidden space that leads to the bathrooms. Normally, we'd be rolling our eyes at the mainstream industrial ceiling that so many restaurants have randomly adopted these days, but here the interior theme is, overall, industrial, with steel walls, black furniture and a wooden skylight wall that will lead you to the hidden space, as well as the brick walls. We started our breakfast with Mojito Minto Cocktail (22LE) and Tropical Passion Smoothie (26LE), the latter of which is served in a cocktail mixer. Although most of the ingredients were artificial, the Mojito Minto was super refreshing thanks to its minty and lemony flavours from the lemon juice, mojito syrup, Sprite and a hint of fresh chopped mint. As for the Tropical Passion smoothie, it had a spot-on consistency and a perfect balance of passion fruit, strawberry and orange, with a bold mango flavour. Moving to the food, we ordered a Frittata (29LE) and Beef Sausage Mince Benedict (46LE) as our breakfast dishes. It might not have been as thick as a normal frittata should be, the presentation wasn't the prettiest and we didn't feel the presence of the fries in it, but this oven baked frittata was bursting with flavours from the pepper, the onions and the seasoning, in addition to the toast which worked perfectly with the whole dish, especially the soft feta cheese pieces. Served with French fries and not-so creamy spinach, the Mince Benedict was served as a burger bun topped with a beef sausage patty and two perfectly poached eggs with mouth-watering runny yolk. The burger bun was super soft and light, too, but the dish was far from perfect; the top bun was just unnecessary and the beef sausage patty was super dry and lacked flavour. In addition, it was too small for the bun and, sadly, there was a no-show for the hollandaise sauce – and what's eggs Benedict without hollandaise sauce? We couldn't leave without grabbing the mighty Elvis French Toast (42LE). The huge Nutella and banana French toast sandwich boasted a soft and custardy interior and a crispy caramel crust, topped with a giant serve of soft vanilla ice cream (14LE), chocolate chip cookie bites (14LE) and drizzled with luscious caramel sauce. There was nothing to complain about this masterpiece; the ice cream had a fantastic consistency and, surprisingly, the Nutella wasn't overpowering like other Nutella desserts, while the cookie bites were a great crunchy element. Overall, we're delighted that we can finally have Mince's full menu at Zamalek; the food had its hit and miss moments but overall it was a excellent experience and a great breakfast alternative.

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One Oak: Surf & Turf Specialist's New Branch at Point 90
Published On: 26/07/2016

Deciding where to dine out with your friends can be an exhausting decision – especially with that one friend who's scared of dying from sushi or that other friend who has suddenly decided that they hate all kinds of meat. Luckily, One Oak is one of the few crowd pleasing restaurants, offering great variety with its surf and turf menu. Located inside Point 90 Mall in New Cairo, the newest branch of One Oak has an elegant spacious indoor area, using a greyscale theme with touches of wood and red lighting, which added a beautiful contrast to the waffle-patterned wall and eye-catching grape-like lighting. The service bar adds a casual and positive energy to the whole place, but one thing that was a little off-putting was the on-trend exposed industrial ceiling which actually only served to take away from the elegant ambiance. The outdoor area was a little generic and simplistic. We sipped on Red Bull Cherry Bomb Cocktail (36LE) and munched on South Western Rolls (32LE) while checking One Oak's big menu. A mixture of lemon, blueberries, cherry syrup, and mint leaves with Redbull, the Red Bull Cherry Bomb Cocktail seemed interesting, but the lemon and blueberry flavours were weak, while the mint leaves only acted as just garnish. The South Western Rolls had a similar problem in its balance of flavours, meanwhile; jalapeno, mixed peppers, sweet corn, red kidney beans, mozzarella cheese and grilled chicken wrapped in fried tortilla bread to be fried, rolls had a fantastic outer crunch and some interesting flavours, but the generous amount of mozzarella overshadowed the rest of the ingredients and the sweet Thai chilli sauce dip just didn't work-perhaps ranch would've been a better call. Moving to the mains, we started with the Quatro Steak Skewer (148LE) with blueberry sauce – a dish comprised of beef tenderloin, rib-eye, striploin,and rump all in a hanged skewer- because go big or go home. The beef was perfectly marinated and bursting with flavours, but the four pieces were unevenly cooked, ranging from a medium rare to well-done The blueberry sauce had a jam consistency and wasn't as sweet as we expected, but the fruitiness of the sauce worked perfectly with the steak marinade. With seemingly endless of options for side dishes, we went with the creamed spinach topped with melted cheese. The dish was rich in flavours, but was too heavy and we would've enjoyed it as a dip rather than a side dish. After the turf, we had to surf with a sushi platter. We ordered a classic Sake Nigiri (9.50LE per piece), and from their 'New Style' Nigiri creations we tried the Maguro Wasabi (16.50LE per piece) and Mango Ebi (14.50LE). Starting with the sake nigiri, the salmon was fresh and cut perfectly, while the texture of the rice was flawless. The same can be said for the Maguro Wasabi – except there was nothing 'new style' about it. The green onion and orange caviar were missing, while the wasabi mayo tasted like regular mayo – essentially, it was tuna nigiri. The Mango Ebi, on the other hand, can proudly call itself 'new style', as the touch of the mango sauce worked perfectly with the shrimp. Fried sushi is as common as authentic sushi and so we had to try the Konafa Roll, which came as a shrimp tempura and crab uramaki roll drizzled with teriyaki sauce; the was great in theory and had interesting flavours, but the excitement of the crunch was missing crust, due to the unnoticeable konafa crust. One thing that caught our eye almost immediately however, was the Spicy Lemon Roll – a classic of Mori Sushi. One Oak's version is bigger in size, but in terms of flavours, the ratio of rice to salmon, shrimp and cream cheese off and we felt like it was fried rice roll. Even though the sauce was just as good, we think Mori Sushi wins this round. We finished our meal with a luscious Cinnamon Fried Banana (40LE); five banana bites coated with a crispy crust, drizzled with honey and cinnamon. The bananas had a scrumptious crust and were bursting with cinnamon flavours, while the vanilla ice cream added a lighter touch, though the honey, as stated in the menu, was actually caramel. Overall, the new One Oak branch is impressive – but the interior design and atmosphere were the stars of an otherwise up-and-down experience.

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La Scala: El Gouna’s Popular Italian Diner Comes to Cairo's Arkan Mall
Published On: 25/07/2016

With its outstanding selection of food covering Greek, Mexican to Swiss and Italian cuisines, El Gouna is known to be one of the best places for food enthusiasts. As soon as we heard the news that Gouna's Italian restaurant and pizzeria, La Scala, had opened their second branch at Sheikh Zayed's Arkan Mall, we could hardly wait to try it out. La Scala has a simple interior design with dominant black white and red colours, simple seating arrangements, two prep stations, black and white portraits and an overall calming vibe. While the indoor area was very hot and the AC didn't work, the weather at the outdoor area was fantastic – except a little ruined by an army of annoying flies. We kicked things off with Insalata Tropicale (40LE); cubes of Gouda cheese, chicken, pineapples, peaches, oranges, bananas and cocktail sauce, the latter basically tasting like plain yogurt. The combination seemed an interesting one, but the flavours were unbalanced and it seemed like the Gouda cheese and chicken accidently fell into a fruit salad bowl. We then decided to stick to pure Italian dishes with Spaghetti Con Vitello (195LE) and La Carbonara (89LE) which were far from disappointing. The former came in the form of five pieces of perfectly cooked veal medallions lying over a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti with generous amount of fresh sautéed mushrooms. The exquisite mushroom sauce had an earthy flavour to it and would've been flawless had the veal not lacked seasoning. Aside from the off-putting slices of red pepper and that the otherwise well-cooked bacon was cut into huge pieces, the spaghetti of the La Carbonara was cooked to perfection and the whole dish was rich in flavours, while the consistency of the sauce was on-point. We finished our meal with Nutella Pizza with Bananas (27LE). As a soft and thin pizza crust smothered with Nutella and slices of bananas, this dessert was just moreproof that chocolate and bananas are one of the most underrated kitchen couples. Overall, we had a fantastic time at La Scala, from the delicious food to the friendly staff. The restaurant delivers a promising start in Cairo. Let's just hope they keep it up - the hardest challenge of all.

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Cairo Weekend Guide: NeoByrd, Shereen Abdo & Lots of Live Music, Plus The Harry Potter Experience!

Hello, Cairo! With 'Sahel Season' nearing its end, you expect to see the country's best musical talents return to the capital – hooray! In the meantime, though, this weekend has some tasty-looking events to sink your teeth into, including a particular treat for Harry Potter fans on Saturday – bu