Arigato: Simonds Bakery Expands into Sushi at Sheikh Zayed Branch
Most of Cairo’s bakeries nowadays are doing their best to keep up with trends, from Nutella-smothered desserts and Biscoff spreads, to the endless stream of red-velvet-everything. The endurng Simonds, however, have decided to go to another direction completely and open a sushi and grill restaurant at their Sheikh Zayed branch, which was recently rebranded as Arigato.
Located at Lagenda Mall, Arigato’s interior design is on the random classical side, with its choice of buttoned leather chairs, living room-style chandeliers and the Japanese drawings on the wall. The ambiance was very gloomy at night due to the very dark lighting – so dark, in fact, that it was difficult to tell the difference between the sushi rolls without using the light of our phones.
Arigato offers a great all-you-can-eat deal at 175LE per person, with your choice of soup, salad or appetiser, and a scoop of ice cream for dessert, too.
Starting with the appetiser, we went with Shrimp Kunafa and Spring rolls. The shrimp kunafa had a scrumptious crust and it was perfectly cooked, and the same goes for the vegetables spring rolls. But overall, there was a lack of seasoning and the flavours were on the bland side, while the sweet chilli sauce dip didn’t really compliment the flavours – because there were no flavours.
Moving to the sushi, Sashimi is excluded from the all-you-can-eat offer, leaving the variety of sushi limited, but crowd-pleasing nonetheless, whether you’re into special hot rolls, Nigiri, or Ura Maki. After checking the menu, we opted for Sake Nigiri, Philadelphia Roll, Boston Roll, Spider Roll and Dynamite Roll.
Before we talk about the sushi, we have to start by telling you about how it was served. Coming to our table in a Japanese style wooden bridge-like plate, it added a fun touch to the whole experience. Starting with the sake nigiri, the rice was seasoned well but sadly it didn’t hold together, while the salmon was fresh was cut unevenly, with one as one end being too thick and the other too thin.
As for the special Ura Maki Philadelphia roll, it was filled with Philadelphia cheese, cucumber, avocado, and topped with smoked salmon and sesame seeds. The salmon was very thin, and the amount of cream cheese was just overpowering. The rice in the rolls was much, much better, though.
Possibly the best roll of the day, the Boston roll consists of a salmon and shrimp roll coated with tempura crust and drizzled with some sweet chilli sauce. The roll was, overall, well-executed but it didn’t have anything special to it. The same goes for the spider roll which was filled with crabsticks, salmon, and cream cheese to be deep fried.
The whole experience was pretty average, until we tried the Dynamite roll – and it got worse. Bringing together jalapeno pepper, spring onion, spicy mayo, and seared scallop, we were super excited, but, unforgivably, the scallop was burnt and had a bitter taste.
After the sushi, we received a scoop of Simonds’ yogurt and blueberry ice cream as a dessert. The texture of the ice cream wasn’t the best, but it had the sour flavour of the yogurt and the fruity sweetness of the blueberry we looked for.
All in all, our experience at Arigato was very disappointing. Why a bakery like Simonds would go into sushi is a bit of a mystery. The 175LE we paid would’ve easily satisfied our sushi cravings at Mori Sushi or we could have just add few