Gaby’s: Good, Almost Great, Food at Popular Citystars Restaurant
City Stars, Ground Floor, Phase Two,
Normally, we would shy away from any venue located in the heart of Citystars – dining at a mall isn’t exactly comfortable, thanks to the staggering noise. However, our visit to Gaby's turned out to be was an all-round top-notch experience. Located in front of the Citystars' VIP Cinema, Gaby's takes up a two-storey space with simple decorative details inspired by a homely ambiance that also manages to somehow feel bright and lively.
We began our meal with the gargantuan Bits and Dips Appetiser (110LE) which includes mussels, crispy bonbons, sojouk sambousak, spicy chicken wings and nachos, alongside some whole-wheat bread and bâton salé with a cheese dip. The mussels were perfectly seasoned, boasting a nicely balanced flavour, while the crispy bonbons – fried mashed potato balls stuffed with spinach, as well as cheddar and mozzarella cheese – were tender and full of flavour.
Personally, we love sojouk and we love sambousak, so naturally, expectations were high for the sojouk samousak. Covered in BBQ sauce, the outer crust was crispy and light – a perfect foil for the delicious mashed sojouk, which was made all the better by the vegetables included in the mix. Unfortunately, the spicy chicken wings were not as spicy as we’d hoped, though they were pleasingly tender.
Despite the amount of food in the starter platter, we were still keen to test the mettle of the main dishes and went for Chicken Portobello Roll (95LE) and Steak & Fries (129LE), with the former coming in the form of four chicken rolls stuffed with mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese and topped with pepper sauce. Alongside it was potato wedges, chips and broccoli, which made it look all the more mouth-watering. The pepper sauce was mild enough that it didn’t completely whitewash the rest of the flavours, while the mushrooms were a particular highlight, lending the already tender chicken some more juices. The only slight on the dish was that it could have done with more of the Swiss cheese.
One of two steak dishes on the menu, the Steak & Fries comes as three thinner-sliced pieces of meat, served with a rich mushroom sauce and a side of mashed potatoes. Cooked a little more than the requested medium, there was a little chew to every bite, but it was seasoned nicely and the sauce served to hide some of its faults.
We also dipped into Gaby's selection of signature drinks, opting for a Caramel Freeze (30LE), which combines pineapple juice, fresh banana and caramel syrup, with vanilla ice cream. The taste of the banana and caramel dominated the drink, while the pineapple was light, giving just the right amount of acidic kick. Our second drink, the Bloody Lemonade (24LE), wasn’t so balanced. The simple combination of lemonade and pomegranate was light on the pomegranate, leaving us a little underwhelmed.
The highlight of our meal, however, was a glorious Chocolate Soufflé (45LE). Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it was cooked perfectly with the gooey chocolate centre oozing out and into the ice cream for a perfect combination of hot and cold.
Despite several little faults ruining otherwise very good dishes, we left Gaby’s feeling satisfied and a little surprised. Despite its mall setting, it actually does a good job of creating its own atmosphere.