Crimson Bar & Grill: High-End Dining Meets Casual Comfort at Fantastic Zamalek Restaurant
16 El Moseqar Kamal El Tawil Street (Formerly Montzah Street)
12:00 - 02:00
From the mouth-watering food and the elegant, casual ambiance, to the astonishing service and, of course the beautiful view of the Nile, Crimson at Riverside in Zamalek is a bar and grill that has it all.
As you step inside Crimson, you’ll find a square-shaped bar with high chairs surrounded by a decent variety of seating arrangements; comfy couches are available, as well as more basic tables-and-chairs arrangement for dining. We love how the blue and crimson plates with the green wall gave the place a surprisingly cheerful, colourful and summery look, even though the rest of the decor uses black, white and wood. There’s also an outdoor terrace with only two dining tables – lucky us we found one of them free – and few other arrangements with big black and red chairs if you just want to lay back and have a drink and snacks with friends.
In all honesty, we were expecting some pretentious, petite and ludicrously overpriced dishes, but Crimson’s menu actually includes dishes that you would consider to be comfort food – and when we say comfort food, we mean thing like Fried Lasagna Rolls and Cheesy Potato Balls – items that still have a high-end spin on them. Of course, there’s also the fancy schmancy side, inlcuding Sea Bass Carpaccio and Greek Grilled Octopus. Their bread basket had cheesy pull apart bread with scallion and served with balsamic-infused butter that was so good we could have eaten it like ice cream with a spoon – and olive pesto, which actually captures the high-end yet comfy menu perfectly.
We kicked things off with Sweet Shrimps Avocado (130LE) as an appetiser. It came in the form of two panko-crusted shrimps that had a terrific crunch, alongside a triangular serving of a rich and creamy avocado and cheese mixture that was bursting with coriander flavour and sweet-and-tart flavours from the green apple cubes. It all worked worked perfectly with the cheese and that tangy balsamic reduction garnish completed what was a flawless and utterly unique dish.
Back to the comfort side, we ordered the Molten Lasagna (110LE) to share, which boasted perfectly-cooked, circular lasagna sheets with a creamy béchamel sauceand minced beef -which had a bold basil flavour – and stuffed with mozzarella cheese in the middle. As delciious as it all sounds, we couldn’t really detect the presence of the truffle flavour in the parmesan garnish as promised in the menu, and the mozzarella in the middle didn’t melt. Still, the dish was full of flavours and the presentation was on-point.
Moving to the mains, we opted for the Grilled Sea Bass (180LE), which was fine-dining at its best. The sea bass had a beautiful flaky texture and its skin was bursting with flavours, while sides of sautéed spinach, mushrooms and lemon butter sauce, as well as two shrimp on top, came together to create simple and delicate flavours. The other side of cheesy mashed potato also surprised, with its very, very smooth texture.
We also tried the Chateaubriand (550LE) which is a 600 gram beef steak, served crispy, parmesan-sprinkled wedges, as well as a baked potato that was topped with cheddar cheese. Once again, this was fine-dining at it’s best – the quality of the ingredients is just as, if not more, important as the perceived creativity – something that speaks of the quality of beef used. It was super tender, came as a perfect medium as requested and had a melt-in-your-mouth, almost buttery, texture. Although the steak was flawless on its own, it was served with creamy whole grain mustard sauce that had a perfect consistency and perfect classic pepper sauce with peppercorns in it for more intense flavours.
After taking a break to take in the view from the terrace, we ordered the Apple Strudel (65LE) for dessert. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel, the dough of the apple strudel was similar to a pie crust – rich and buttery in flavour and tender in texture. As for the apple filling, it was far from mushy and the overall sweetness was just spot-on.
Overall, Crimson has terrific service, beautiful views, a cosy ambiance that will make you never want to leave, flavourful food, huge portions and the very fun menu. It’s been a while since a restaurant or bar has impressed so spectacularly.