Marilyn: Glamorous Fast-Food at Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers
Esteemed hotels in Cairo are known for both their swanky restaurants and the hefty price tags that go with them. The Fairmont in Heliopolis seems to be revolutionising hotel eating; the opening of their burger joint, Marilyn, combines class with reasonably priced food. Most people love simple, quick meals but are often put off dining at fast food restaurants by shabby surroundings. Attracting diners looking for good, no frills meals and hidden towards the back of the hotel lobby, the Fairmont’s newly furbished restaurant stands out with its bright red, yellow and white colour scheme.
The restaurant itself is quiet and spacious, with comfortable sized tables and contemporary arm chairs. Marilyn Monroe’s face does appear on the front of the menus, however, other than this and the pop art décor, little else visually reflects the supposed theme. Being a curvaceous American actress and model in the 1950’s and 60’s, the menu centres around diner food, boasting a small but adequate selection of burgers and sandwiches, each named after films that Marilyn starred in. All meals come with fries and a soft drink; however, it was a little difficult to decipher which were burgers and which were served as baguettes.
The drinks menu is limited to sodas (12LE), fresh juice (20LE), milkshakes (25LE) and mineral water (10LE/18LE). Unusually, all the prices on the menu include service and tax.
We ordered one ‘Don’t Bother to Knock’ (60LE) – a cheese burger with beef bacon – and six pieces of deep fried chicken, ‘The Prince and the Show Girl’ (75LE) along with a side of onion rings (10LE) and two cokes. The food took a while longer to arrive than typical fast food, although, as expected, the quality was miles higher. Our meals arrived on brightly coloured plastic trays, in cardboard packaging featuring Marilyn’s face, alongside plastic cutlery and cups for our chilled, bottled cokes.
The burger was delicious, made with US Angus beef, although it was not as thick as we’d anticipated, it was filled with a perfect amount of fresh salad, melted cheese and a thin slice of quality beef bacon. The burger was nowhere near as greasy as other burger places, and didn’t leave us feeling sluggish or guilty either. Our chicken pieces were similar to chicken wings and were deliciously crunchy and moist. The chips were thinly cut and were neither too crispy nor undercooked, whilst the onion rings were possibly the best we’ve ever had; deep fried to a perfect golden-brown with a soft, thick onion filling.
Staying true to fast-food form, the sauces are served in tiny sachets, but are generously supplied without charge. Also, there are no desserts, just tubs of strawberry, chocolate or vanilla Haagan Dasz ice-cream (27LE-48LE).
Marilyn modernises and glamourises fast-food, serving up reasonably priced, quality hamburgers and sandwiches in a contemporary modern setting.