Culina: The Brunch of Champions at The Nile Ritz-Carlton
1113 Corniche El Nil Cairo, The Nile Ritz-Carlton
Open buffets in Egypt have a bit of a bad reputation – more often than not, they sacrifice quality for quantity. Few manage to balance both, but Friday Brunch at The Nile Ritz-Carlton’s Culina knocks it out of the park with its wide variety and top-notch quality.
Taking place every Friday between 1PM and 5PM, the buffet costs 400LE per person. With something like brunch, we expected some baked goods, a selection of cheese and salads, and maybe a fancy touch of Fois Gras. Well, everything we mentioned was available but there was much, much more, too.
We started our tour by appetiser-hunting. The salad bar has plenty of classic choices, although three specific items stood out the most; the Caprese Salad with its super fresh mozzarella and tasty pesto sauce; the Asian beef salad which was bursting with flavours due to the terrific Asian dressing and tender pieces of beef; and the Pumpkin and Sundried Tomato Salad that had a fantastic spicy kick to it.
As for hot appetisers, we loved the Spinach Sambousak, which was seasoned well and had a zesty kick, while the dough itself was soft with a bit crunch to it. The the mini raindrop-shaped Kobeba stole the show, though, thanks to its amazing crispy exterior and flavourful minced beef filling.
From classic Egyptian dishes and the seafood station – which prepares the fish on spot with your favourite choice marinade – to the grilled salmon and thanksgiving-like table which had rib-eye steak, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and croissant muffins, things got pretty intense after the appetiser due to the endless choices, but the sushi bar in the middle grabbed our attention first.
Four types Ura Maki rolls are available, alongside all the trimmings – soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. We loved the freshness of the salmon and tuna used in the rolls, the chef’s perfect cuts perfect and the spot on texture of the rice.
Heading to the heavier stuff, we stopped by the pasta station to create our own combo. We opted for cream sauce linguini with sun-dried tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. In addition to the cream sauce having a spot-on consistency and the pasta being cooked to a perfect al dente, what made this pasta station special was the high quality ingredients available.
We then took a trip to India with the the Beef Curry. The blend of savoury spices in the curry was delicious, and the beef itself was cooked to perfection. It’s just a shame that there wasn’t some Beriyani rice and butter chicken!
We also stopped by the outdoor area to find authentic Kabsa and a shawerma station, as well as a chef grilling shish tawook, kofta and mouth-watering grilled chicken, which is smothered with melted butter and then grilled to an almost musical sizzle. The chicken was super moist and juicy, the buttery skin was an explosion of flavours and the marinade was full of flavour.
Working under the concept that dessert doesn’t go to the stomach, it goes to the heart, we wasted no time in feeding out sweet-tooth. We started with the chocolate truffles, which are coated with pistachio bits for a crunch; they were filled with chocolate ganache infused with cranberry, which that added a delightful touch of sourness. Then we took a piece from the lemon meringue tart, which had a great crust that held itself well and rich and zesty lemon filling, as well as sweet meringue to balance everything. We finished our meal with perfectly executed chocolate macaroons, which had a thin crust and chewy-and-soft centre.
Culina’s Friday Brunch has raised the bar for the open buffet game in Egypt. In offering a crowd-pleasing variety of dishes from across five different cuisines, it’s easily the best buffet of its kind in Cairo; perfectly-executed food with top-quality ingredients.