As part of the Swiss Restaurants chain, Le Chateau sits on the upper floor of a rather uninspiring building on the Giza Corniche. After making our way up a small flight of steps, we were halted by a large, impressive wooden door.
Staying true to its name, Le Chateau is designed to look like a traditional stately mansion with every one of the many tables laid out with crisp white table cloths and sparkling dining sets. The wood panelled walls, wrought iron wall sconces with red, flickering, candle-effect light bulbs and dim lighting created a Gothic and slightly eerie feel. The musty smell of the place and large leather arm chairs pulled us further into yesteryear.
Being the only diners in the vast restaurant ,we were lucky enough to land a table next to one of the large windows, permitting a romantic Nile view. The fact we were high up meant that although the view was interrupted by the road, it didn’t phase us too much. The smartly dressed, professional waiter brought over the leather bound menus and took the time to reel off a number of the evening’s specials.
Le Chateau offers a vast amount of alcohol including local and imported French wines (105LE-995LE per bottle/36LE per glass), spirits, liqueurs and beer. Non-alcoholic drinks are restricted to sodas (11LE) and fruit juices (17LE), whereas hot drinks include herbal and flavoured teas (11LE) and various coffees (14.50LE-26LE). We ordered two mint teas (11LE) which disappointingly came without fresh mint. Although the waiter assured us that there was mint in the water, it sure didn’t taste like it.
The food menu is slightly limited, but there is an ample choice of soups and appetisers along with tasty and fancy-sounding seafood, poultry and meat dishes. For our starter, we chose to share the restaurants Swiss speciality: air dried beef (67LE). To follow, the chicken Florentine (82LE) and veal medallions (119LE) took our fancy.
Soon after, a bread basket filled with warm brioche, brown and white rolls was delivered to our table. After a leisurely wait, the air dried beef arrived in an attractive arrangement. Sitting on top of a crisp lettuce salad, the large mound was tooped with fresh gherkins and roses sculpted from tomato skin. It was delicious and plenty to share – although you may not want to. The drizzled oil moistened, but didn’t drown, the hearty beef strips and the dish left us excitedly anticipating our mains.
The mains arrived and we were, once again, thoroughly impressed by the portion sizes. The huge, thick, moist chicken pieces were a deep golden brown, stuffed to the brim with a creamy, strong-flavoured spinach mixture. The bountiful amount of delicate veal chunks were swimming in a rich, creamy sauce, subtly flavoured with mustard. Both meals came with our choice of smooth mashed potato and buttery, perfectly seasoned vegetables.
Of course, being a Swiss meal, we felt compelled to end it with a chocolate fondue, of which there is a minimum order for two (74LE). The pool of dark, melted chocolate was presented in a long, glass dish, kept warm by several candles underneath. Sweet shortbread biscuits, crunchy wafers, sweet whipped cream and colourful, fresh, chopped fruit medleys were served in individual dishes and made for one of the most lavish chocolate fondues we’ve tried.
Le Chateau surprised us with their wholesome, delectable food and laid-back, pleasurable and authentic – albeit unusual – dining experience.