21 Shams El Din Al Zahabi, Ard El Golf
12:00 - 00:00
Garnell; a new sushi restaurant that also has the trendy poke bowls has been the talk of the town lately. Garnell became an instant hit and promptly opened up four branches; two in Heliopolis, one in Maadi, and the one we visited in New Cairo.
Garnell serves a full-on menu apart from sushi; there’s a variety of soups, salads, appetisers, teppanyaki, vegetarian options, desserts, and main dishes. After all the things we’ve been hearing, we were excited to check it out for ourselves, and we decided to mix and match to try as many items as we could.
We started with a Miso Soup (30LE) – tofu soup with chives and seaweed. It was tasty, a bit on the salty side, but we didn’t mind. We also opted for Ika No Karaage (40LE) – marinated calamari with special tempura sauce – according to the menu. The word marinated was a bit confusing because what we were served was fried calamari with sweet chilli sauce. It was an average appetiser; the batter wasn’t particularly great, but it was an overall win, considering the price. Then, we thought the Shrimp Taco Salad (45LE) would be interesting, so we went for it – shrimp and octopus served with lettuce, chives, lemon sauce, ginger, soy, and tabasco sauce. This salad was poorly executed; the octopus was rubbery, the shrimp was tasteless, and the dressing was nonexistent– it was a disappointment, unfortunately.
We then went on to the sushi menu, where there were four combos – we got the Senior G Combo to share (270LE), which includes 30 pieces of sushi that we chose from the combo selection. We got the Merry G – a roll of eel, salmon, and avocado, wrapped in crispy rice and topped with cream cheese and teriyaki. We also got a roll of salmon; cream cheese and avocado topped with smoked salmon and teriyaki sauce. Both of which were tasty, but the cream cheese was of poor quality. The taste and texture was not of sushi-appropriate cream cheese, but a stiffer and stronger type of cheese. Next, we got Hot Lemon; fried roll, filled with salmon, crab meat, covered with cream cheese, and served with spicy mayo sauce; it was ok, but we can’t say it was the best Hot Lemon roll we’ve ever tasted.
We went on to choose the Creamy Lava – fried shrimp, avocado, and cream cheese, wrapped with crispy rice and a topping of cream cheese and crab slices. The shredded crab on top tasted really good and well marinated, but we still couldn’t shake the feeling we got from the cheese – if we had known, we probably wouldn’t have ordered so many things with it in. We also ordered Spicy Tuna Roll – vegetable tempura, topped with spicy tuna, and served with teriyaki sauce; the tuna on top was phenomenal – fresh and tasty.
The last two rolls we got were; the Crispy Shrimp Roll – shrimp tempura and avocado rolled in crispy rice, and the Pinky G Roll – roll of shrimp tempura, avocado topped with crab mayonnaise paste, served with sesame and sriracha sauce. The overall problem with the sushi, aside from the cheese, was the rice itself; the texture was so sticky that you couldn’t see the individual rice grains – it was just blocks of overcooked, glutinous rice.
We decided to end our meal with some sashimi; we got five pieces of salmon (60LE) and five pieces of tuna (55LE). The sashimi was a hit; the pieces were sizable, fresh, and of amazing quality – we were delighted with both. We expressed our opinions on the cheese and rice, and the staff were kind enough to take the miso soup out of the cheque along with a discount. Nevertheless, the verdict, at least for this branch, wasn’t the best; the mishaps were grave for a sushi place, despite the sashimi being beyond perfect. Next time we will try out their Poke Bowls in another branch to see how that part of the menu fares.