Gui: Tasteful Sushi & Grill in Zamalek
Outside of the city’s hotels, fine dining restaurants in Cairo are few and far between; amongst a sea of casual eateries catering for the masses, we relish the moments we come across classy establishments. Set back from the road with an interesting, wooden chalet exterior and imitation lawn, Gui on Abou El Feda Street in Zamalek stands out as a more unique diner.
The interior is equally as quirky, with its chic décor giving off a minimalist, Oriental feel. An open plan food preparation area sits proudly in the centre of the restaurant, whilst an impressive wooden staircase – with no banisters or hand rail of any kind – sits to one side. Several pillars incorporate a natural stone fascia whilst one of the walls is an exotic ornament of sorts; a frosted glass screen in front of a row of tropical looking plants.
Focusing their efforts on sushi and grills, their menu seems instantly sophisticated and certainly doesn’t disappoint with their wide variety of soups, Oriental starters, sushi, sashimi and seafood salads as well as steaks, fish and chicken dishes. Unfortunately there are no set sushi menus, meaning you have to pick every piece of sushi yourself; something which can be both time consuming and a little confusing.
Much like other Cairo restaurants, the drinks menu is largely filled with cocktails and fresh juices. We went for a pleasantly refreshing concoction of pineapple and Sprite, along with some chilled sodas and large mineral waters. Sadly, the restaurant could only offer us standard tea or coffee as hot options; no flavoured teas or complicated coffees were available.
An amuse-bouche of mushroom, salmon and cream cheese, crispy sushi was delivered for each person. These did exactly as they were supposed to; the fresh, flavourful pieces excited our taste buds and whet our appetite for our coming feast. Keen to try more of their sushi, we ordered a selection of two piece salmon (20LE), eel (22LE), scallop (24LE), sea bass (19LE) and shrimp (22LE). Each of these were delicious, bite-sized, moist rice parcels with palatable fish pieces draped over the top. In addition to this simple selection, we also ordered four California rolls (50LE), slightly tangier, Sexy California rolls (35LE) with an added topping of flamed salmon salad and creamy togarish mayo, and two pieces of slightly overpriced and undersized salmon sashimi (60LE). Following suit, these too were delightfully fresh tasting and excellently put together.
The classic miso soup (20LE) was a light, aromatic starter with a fishy aftertaste. For our meat options, we opted for some scrumptious beef (90LE) and chicken skewers (40LE). Both dishes were mediocre in size, with two skewers of hearty chunks of moist, brilliantly flavoured, well-cooked meat. The hoisin sauce served with the chicken was a sweet glaze and the peanut dip was our favourite, as it was creamy but powerfully nutty at the same time.
The fruit tower (40LE), chocolate fondant (35LE) and strawberry (12LE) and chocolate (12LE) ice-cream took our fancy for dessert. Both ice-creams were served in attractive glasses and were both exceptionally tasty. The fruit tower was an impressive selection of fresh fruit pieces skewered onto a mound of crushed ice. Our chocolate fondants were small but rich explosions of warm melted chocolate, encased in a soft sponge and served with a smooth vanilla ice-cream.
Gui offers a refreshing, modish dining experience, providing delicious Oriental food and quality meat dishes.