Le Tarbouche: Oriental Moods & Succulent Flavours at Le Pacha 1901 in Zamalek
There was once a Pacha who dreamed of building a floating castle on the Nile; before he was able to finish it, he passed away – in 1901 to be specific. Around a century later, however, a travelling foreigner bought the castle from his heirs and called it Le Pacha 1901.
Luckily, what was doomed to be an abandoned floating castle, ended up being one of our Cairo's go-to assortment of restaurants.
Looking for an authentic dinner alongside our very exciting history lesson, we paid a visit to Le Tarbouche – previously the Pacha’s own bedroom and currently the boat’s only restaurant offering both authentic Egyptian and Lebanese cuisines.
With antique chairs, long golden pillars decorated with seashells and a wooden ceiling carved with Islamic architecture patterns, Le Tarbouche has a unique Ottoman atmosphere that encourages an Oriental experience, not to mention a hunger for appetising Middle Eastern starters, of which we ordered Vine Leaves with olive oil (32.90LE) and Kishk—mixture of chicken broth, wheat, yoghurt, topped with caramelized onions—(32.90LE) served with freshly baked bread.
A creamy texture balancing the salty taste of the broth, the smooth rich taste of the yoghurt, topped with just the right amount of perfectly crispy onions, Le Tarbouche’s Kishk is the best we’ve had to date.
While it is mostly served as a hot appetiser in many restaurants in Egypt, we like to eat our vine leaves the Lebanese way – served cold – which is why we loved the cool, sour taste of the vine leaves soaked in olive oil.
After enjoying our appetisers, we were ready for our main courses; we opted for a Mixed Grills Platter (99.90LE) and Veal Fattah (62.90LE).
Comprised of three pieces of Kofta and three other Kebab, and served with French fries, our grills were delightful; with a perfectly light, tender and juicy kofta and perfectly seasoned kebabs, everything was cooked perfectly and we especially liked the distinct flavor of the tomato juice in the kofta.
With a generous amount of meat, our Veal was cooked well-done and served with orzo simmered in the meat’s flavorful juice. Like the mixed grill, the veal retained a certain amount of tenderness.
Le Pacha is known to have a perfect selection of international desserts offered in all of its restaurants and, after we finished our dinner, we were ready for dessert; Crème Brule (22.90LE). Simple in theory, many of Cairo's restaurants don't quite get Crème Brule right, though with a luscious caramelised crust and a perfectly creamy texture, it was close to perfect.
Combining both Lebanese and Egyptian flavours, some appetising starters and some tasty main dishes and desserts, our experience at Le Tarbouche was quite satisfying; we highly recommend it for fans of Oriental cuisine and for those looking to have a good value for money.