Bab El-Sharq: Lobster-Stuffed Pigeon & Oriental Deliciousness at The Nile Ritz-Carlton
Many a restaurant in Cairo has tried to separate itself from the crowd by thinking out of the box and serving unusual culinary creations. The sky is obviously the limit in the modern kitchen, but just when we thought we’d seen everything, Bab El-Sharq comes along with its Lobster-Stuffed Pigeon.
Located inside The Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Bab El-Sharq has already made a name for itself for outstanding grilled and wood-fired dishes. As a venue, it’s a simple and chic outdoor restaurant that has different types of seating, complimented with live entertainment and an astonishing view of the Egyptian Museum and a spacious garden.
We started our meal with Maria Ghanam (60LE) as an appetiser. Fresh bread is stuffed with a mixture of minced beef, pepper, onion and pine nuts, before being grilled. As a much cooler mash-up of hawawshi or the Lebanese arayes, the bread was soft with crispy edges, the mixture was perfectly seasoned, and the occasional crunch from the pine nuts was great.
After a flawless start from the appetiser, we expected the same from the mains. Starting with the flavourful Shish Tawouk (155LE), it was served with classic homemade French fries, fluffy basmati rice, and tomeya (garlic dip) and tehina. The shish tawouk itself was marinated well and grilled to perfection – a classic dish executed perfectly.
But let’s get to the main event of the evening – the Lobster-stuffed Pigeon (240LE). It’s a little more complex than its name suggest; it’s also stuffed with lemon-infused rice that perfectly complimented the lobster tail, with the pigeon itself acting as a perfect vessel for the combination. The dish was also served with a cumin-tinted side of rice that was bursting with flavours and a to-die-for molokheya. On paper, the combination of pigeon and lobster doesn’t really add up and we were expecting a disaster – but we’ll put our hands up this time and happily admit that we were oh so wrong.
We finished our meal with everyone’s favourite mother, Om Ali (55LE). The classic combination of puff pastry soaked in sweetened milk and mixed with a generous amount of nuts had exquisite flavours and a spot-on amount of sugar, but was more suited to those who prefer the Om Ali with a lot of milk.
All in all, there was little to complain about at the time of our visit to Bab El-Sharq. The food was well executed and the ambiance was perfect for a relaxing meal – what else could you ask for?