Jo Sushi: Long-Time Japanese Favourite in Zamalek
As the Cairo restaurant scene wavers ever more towards the Orient, sushi has been at the forefront of the movement with a seemingly limitless supply of restaurants offering the Japanese delicacy. And while there were quite a few sushi places already established before the increasing demand, most of these restaurants have fallen victim to the heightened quality and various options present in the newer venues.
Nestled in a quiet corner on Mohammed Mazhar Street, Jo Sushi has seen its fair share of hungry patrons over the years. With their reputation so well established, we were interested in discovering how well they’ve faired over the years.
The restaurant’s exterior is one of classic wooden décor that ties in the Japanese influence with a modern touch. Stepping inside is an experience in itself, with gorgeous nihonga paintings accenting the walls, polished wooden flooring and deep wooded furnishings all combining to create a hospitable and comfortable feel.
Immediately seated, we were tended to by a friendly waiter who was both discreet and knowledgeable about the menu from which we were ordering. While the menu boasts an immense variety of sushi, maki, special rolls and sashimi, Jo Sushi also offers various Japanese hot dishes and bento boxes as tasty alternatives. Opting for the more economical selections, we decided on the Jo 5 combo platter (499LE), that allows for 100 pieces of sushi, maki, and rolls, and a Moriawase sashimi plate with a selection of 12 pieces of raw fish (57LE).
As part of our platter, we selected salmon, octopus, white fish, eel, tuna, shrimp, and squid for our sushi pieces and assorted numbers of the California Rolls, Rainbow Rolls, Dragon Rolls, Philadelphia Roll, and Dynamite Rolls. Arriving first, the Moriawase was presented on a small plate with strips of salmon, octopus, white fish and tuna. The sashimi was unfortunately thawed carelessly which enveloped the fish in a film of sweat that overrode the flavour. While not bad to the point of being spoilt, the sashimi was unappetising to say the least.
Up next, the combo platter arrived without anything missing – a rare feat for such a big order. While nicely presented with slices of pickled ginger and generous helpings of wasabi, the same slimy film was visible over the flesh of the fish – the salmon in particular. Starting with the rolls, it was immedietly apparent that the California Roll and Philadelphia Roll were the best of the batch, with the Dragon and Dynamite unpleasant in both texture and taste. Likewise with the sushi, the shrimp and octopus were delectable while the tuna, eel and white fish ending up in our napkins rather than in our stomachs.
Although the atmosphere and service in Jo Sushi is as good as you’ll find in Cairo, the sushi, while not rousing food poisoning, has sadly fallen behind to the more recently opened restaurants scattered across the city and left us with the impression that we would have been better off ordering from their hot dishes section.