DUO Restaurant & Café: Basic Dishes Done Well at Reasonably Priced Heliopolis Restaurant
Osman Ibn Affan,El Kolya El Harbya, Heliopolis
A good meal in a good atmosphere often comes at a price on the Cairo restaurant scene; a place that offers well-executed and affordable dishes is not always easy to find. But located next to the Military Academy in Heliopolis, DUO, in spite of some missteps during our visit, manages to pull off exactly that.
Sat on the corner of one of the quietest streets in the neighborhood, DUO boasts a beach-inspired outdoor area that features wooden tables, cushioned chairs and umbrellas surrounded by radiant greenery, while the indoor area has a cosier atmosphere, thanks to dimmed lighting and comfortable sofas and chairs.
The menu itself, while it has plenty of dishes typical in many 'international restaurants', there are other unique dishes, including Peach and Goat Cheese Salad (45LE) – chicken breast served with goat cheese, peach and special dressing – and Bonne Femme, which isessentially a seafood mishmash topped with cream and mushroom sauce (85LE)
After some thinking, we opted for some classics with Tomato and Lentil Soup (25LE and 23LE) a mix appetiser platter (35LE) comprised of meat & cheese sambousak, fried chicken strips and vegetable spring rolls, while as our mains, we went for Beef Fillet (50LE) and Chicken Colorado (55LE).
Served with croutons, the tomato soup was well-seasoned and had an enticing and delicious silky, creamy consistency, while the lentil soup paled in comparison, with an unpleasant watery texture and an overall bland taste.
Soon after finishing the soups, our appetiser platter was served. The cheese sambousak was filled with a hot and savoury blend of melted cheese fused with chopped fresh herbs and fried to a perfect taste. The beef sambousak, on the other hand, had a flaky dough which the well-seasoned stuffing of minced meat made up for. The chicken strips were crunchy, delicious and perfectly spiced giving it an extra flavourful kick, whereas our spring rolls, though filled with fresh vegetables, were extremely greasy and slightly burnt on the edges.
Our mains were promptly served hot and fresh soon after, with the beef fillet hitting all the right notes. Soaked in tasty and flavourful mushroom sauce, the fillet was extremely tender, juicy and moist to the taste, with a creamy mashed potatoes serving and light and tender long grain white rice; the entire plate was delicious and well-executed.
The Chicken Colorado was equally tasty, with deep fried chicken wrapped with well-seasoned beef bacon and coated with molten mozzarella cheese; a perfect combination that was served with tender sauté vegetables alongside hot and seasoned French fries.
We washed down our meal with the peculiur sounding Frozen Cheese drink (30LE); a blend of Nutella, milk and cream cheese mixed together in one huge, perfectly executed cocktail that was as refreshing as it was rich.
Skimming the dessert section, we found some basic options such as Chocolate Brownies with Ice Cream (32LE) or Crepe Nutella (36LE), although more tempting desserts included Galaxy Tart (35LE) and Fruit Madness (35LE).
Opting for the latter, the Fruit Madness was essentially made of a large scoop of ice cream with pieces of fresh fruit sandwiched in between and topping the entire ensemble. The only downfall to this sweet dish, however, was the consistency of the ice cream; in addition to being a little gungy and melted, it was devoid of much flavour. We wrapped the evening up with Gum-Watermelon and Gum-Mint flavoured shishas (35LE each) which were properly tended to but they lost their flavour sooner than we expected.
DUO doesn’t necessarily has anything new or unique to offer, but we left satisfied; despite a few missteps, that's all you can really ask of a kitchen – to execute its menu well.