Asmak joined the seafood restaurant scene in Egypt over a decade ago and since then has expanded to four branches across the city. Asmak created quite the noise over the years, focusing on traditional flavours in a more refreshing and refined setting, which resonated well with customers. Years go by, and the famous Butterfly Shrimp dish gets a new cousin, the Butterfly Lobster. So without a second thought, we headed to their Sheikh Zayed branch to give this item a try.
Sheikh Zayed’s Asmak branch is two levels that are always buzzing but spacious enough that you can still enjoy your meal peacefully. We headed straight inside to choose and weigh in our items; there was a huge variety, from fresh bottarga and squid eggs to jumbo shrimp and eel. We decided to get almost ¼ kilo of clams (66 LE) – cooked in a herbaceous broth and ½ kilo of the new Butterfly Lobster (475 LE) – cooked in dill and butter. While waiting for our items to arrive, we also got salads to share. We had the Beetroot salad (30 LE), Tahini (20 LE), Baladi Salad (40 LE) and the Raheb Salad (20 LE) – which is a mix of eggplant, pomegranate, onions, and tomatoes. The salads were tasty and perfectly seasoned except the beetroot that needed more pickling time because it tasted a bit on the bland side.
Our clams came first, and we could taste the spiced broth; the portion worked well as a shared dish for two and was a perfect start to our meal. After waiting for a while, the lobster dish arrived alongside one Khalta Rice (25 LE), but here lied our disappointment. The presentation of the lobster dish was miles away from what we had seen in the advertisement. As for the taste, the lobster was mediocre; it came in with barely any sauce and was a little overcooked. We voiced our concerns to the staff, and they offered us two complementary Om Ali desserts and two lemon mint juice as a sign of goodwill.
We definitely had higher expectations from our visit, but we were satisfied with our meal and good gesture at the end of the day. Adding new items to an already established menu could be a gamble, but Asmak will always remain a top seafood restaurant that we all love to visit from time to time.