Golio’s: Sicilian Restaurant Expands into Zamalek
136 26th of July St.
Desperately trying to keep up with demand, Cairo dining chains aspire to moving into Zamalek. Following a branch in Mohandiseen, Italian restaurant-come-café-come-shisha place, Golio’s, has opened up its second branch on the busy 26th July Street.
The décor is both contemporary and colourful, mixing charcoal greys and brightly coloured seat cushions, as well as large comfortable suede sofas to perch on. The glass door was left open for the entirety of our visit – perhaps for ventilation of the shisha smoke – making for a fairly noisy mealtime. Immediately after walking through the door, a waiter ushered us over to a free table, menus in hand. We marvelled over the size and diversity of the menu, pondering over an array of soups, salads, Sicilian starter dishes, pizzas, pastas, chicken and meat dishes.
Before turning our attention to the medley of hot and cold beverages, we settled on an antipasto Siciliano to share (45LE); a tempting selection of fried mozzarella cheese, pizzetta – mini pizzas – parmigiana di melanzane and bruschetta. For our mains, we chose one Beef Stroganoff (81LE) and a veal picatta with lemon and mushroom (85LE). Out of all the cocktails, fresh juices and hot drinks, we put our trust in Golio’s and opted for a Golio’s Favourite (33LE) and a lemon and mint juice (19LE).
The Golio’s Favourite turned out to be our favourite too; a thick, creamy milkshake tasting exactly like Snickers chocolate, complete with lashings of sticky caramel sauce. The lemon and mint juice wasn’t far behind, freshly squeezed but a little too undiluted and bitter. Our antipasto starter turned out to be more than adequate for two people, with generous amounts of each taster, served with a tangy pink sauce. The fried mozzarella cheese was perfectly golden, gooey and flavourful whilst the mini pizzas were delicious, although they were made up more of the base than the salami and olive topping. The parmigiana di melanzane was soft, fresh eggplant topped with scrummy melted cheese. Meanwhile, the tomato-topped bruschetta maintained the trending freshness, served atop white, toasted baguette slices.
Both main courses were sizable, swimming in generous amounts of sauce. The beef Stroganoff was good quality but was overpowered by the taste of barbeque sauce; even the pieces of pepper failed to bring balance to the dish. Our sides of smooth, creamy mash and soft, garlic butter vegetables were much more delectable. The veal picatta faired slightly worse; the veal pieces were slightly chewy, but were saved by the tangy lemon sauce, whilst a side of al dente pasta in a tasteless white sauce led to further disappointment.
For dessert, we went for a portion of profiteroles (32LE), which again, were enough to share between two. The doughy balls gave us a slight carb overload and were filled with creamy custard and covered in an incredibly rich chocolate sauce.
Golio’s new road-side branch provides the essentials – shisha and food – in a comfortable, contemporary setting, although the chef might do a little better in the food department if he remembers quality is better than quantity.