The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Restaurants

Acacia: French Colonial Restaurant In Maadi’s Villa Belle Époque

Acacia: French Colonial Restaurant In Maadi’s Villa Belle Époque

If you live in Maadi, you’ve probably visited Villa Belle Époque, but if you haven’t, then a visit is definitely worth it. When you enter Villa Belle Époque, you are instantly transported back in time. The recently renovated colonial-style boutique hotel allows guests to relive the comfort and elegance of the old French era. The place was built in the 1920s and still resonates with this beautiful vibe. The hotel has a swimming pool, sundecks, and patios surrounded by relaxing greenery and trees, making it a perfect getaway from the city buzz. Inside this cosy hotel, you can find a very atmospheric restaurant with the name of Acacia. Our last visit was back in 2010 after the quiet opening of the hotel in 2009; that’s why we decided to head down there to see how it is fairing eleven years later.

We called to reserve ahead on the same day before going; however, we were told that there isn’t any space available in the restaurant: indoors or outdoors. After a lot of debate, we managed to get a table for two inside, but to our surprise, the place was more than half empty from the moment we arrived until we left, which made us question why the reservation process wasn’t more straightforward. We got to our window-side table and began ordering two soups as starters. We chose the Pumpkin Soup (85 LE) – sweet roasted pumpkin, cashew cream, and coriander, and the Thai Tom Yum Soup (120 LE) – mussels, shrimp, salmon, calamari, lemongrass, and green chilli. The soups were marvellously rich, flavourful and tasty; the creamy sweetness of the pumpkin and the perfect cook of the seafood in the Tom Yum was rather impressive.

After enjoying our filling soups, we got one Oriental Mezze Platter (100 LE) to share – hummus, tahini, baba ghanoush, muhammara, grilled halloumi, tabbouleh, and homemade pita bread. The platter portions were tiny but sensible given the price. The mix of flavours meshed well together; the creaminess of the baba ghanoush and freshness of the tabbouleh complemented the saltiness of the pesto halloumi and the spiced muhammara. Unfortunately, our main dishes came in much later than preferred; however, they came in flawless. We ordered the Beef Fillet (265 LE) – South African beef, pan jus, heirloom vegetables, and roasted potatoes, and the Tomato Shrimp Risotto (175 LE) – sautéed shrimp, arugula, tomato coulis, fresh thyme, and parmesan cheese. The fillet dish was indescribable; the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender, while the Dijon sauce elevated the taste of the vegetables and potatoes. The risotto was also successfully creamy and rich; though the tomato flavour didn’t shine, the shrimps were nicely seasoned and cooked.

We finished our meal rather too full to go for dessert, but the options did seem rather tempting. Acacia is an excellent place for a romantic date or cosy get together, however as far as customer service and feeling welcomed goes, the meter doesn’t rise very high. On a brighter note, the prices haven’t fluctuated like everything else in those eleven years; Acacia is as brilliant value for money venue as it is unique.

360 Tip

You can use the hotel pool during the day there and enjoy the same menu on offer

Best Bit

The main dishes and soups

Worst Bit

The customer service

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