Pepper Grill: Solid International Menu Lacks Unique Touch
‘International cuisine’ restaurants are a dime a dozen in Cairo and the concept seems more of a convenient way to cover all the bases so that there’s something for everyone on the menu. However, that puts the restaurant in the position where it has to contend with so many others, and try to be unique.
Pepper Grill is one such restaurant. Located at Patio in New Cairo, it falls into the international category like other restaurants such as Versal and Steak Out.
For a little bit of everything we got a Pepper Quatro (80LE); an appetizer platter that includes mozzarella sticks, onion rings, chicken strips and spring rolls, with four different sauces.
The onion rings were solid in taste but without anything special and the mozzarella sticks were well cooked with a gooey interior with a satisfyingly cheesy aftertaste. The spring rolls, meanwhile, were unusually unsealed from one end, but had a nice crispy shell with flavourful mix of vegetables; finally the chicken strips were the highlight of the plate and were perfectly cooked to with a tender middle.
From the mains, we ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu (89 LE) with penne pasta as our chose side; coming in two large pieces, the chicken was well cooked and stuffed with rich, flavourful cheese, while the smoked beef had a great aftertaste; with the accompanying mushroom sauce, the dish was close to phenomenal. The pasta was topped with a creamy white sauce that has a smooth texture alongside the soft pasta which was cooked very well.
Our second main dish was the Triple Tender Beef (144 LE) with mashed potatoes and oriental rice; coming as three medallions, the meat itself had a slightly bitter aftertaste and gamey flavour, despite being tender and cooked well.
The medallions were covered with three different sauces; the first was something similar to salsa sauce with a hint of olives in a mix that simply didn’t work well with the beef. The second was a blue cheese sauce which had a rich flavour that gave the beef a little more punch, while the honey mustard sauce had a sweet tangy touch that worked as a refreshing foil to the richer flavours of the dish.
Unusually drizzled with pesto was the mashed potatoes which has well prepared yet a bit too dry and the pesto felt out of place not providing anything extra to the plate, as for the oriental rice, it had a mixture of spices and herbs, however the most noticeable and overpowering was the cinnamon with a lightly sweet taste making it stand out and not work well with most of the sauces.
The side of mashed potatoes was unusually drizzled with pesto, which felt out of place and added nothing extra to the plate and didn’t the overall dryness of the potatoes.
Like many restaurants of this kind, Pepper Grill also offers a range of drinks, of creative-sounding drink, of which we ordered a simple chocolate milkshake (34 LE) which was a bit watered down due to the large amount of ice it’s served with, while also as well as not being as smooth as one would expect a milkshake to be.
We also tried the more complex Maltesers (31 LE), which is far from what you’d expect based on the name. As a mix of strawberry, mango and guava, with some ice-cream and Maltesers on top, the combination of juices and ice cream made for a refreshing mix, but the Maltesers didn’t work with the rest of the drink and were more of a garnish than an ingredient.
Pepper Grill is a solid restaurant with good food, friendly service and a charming location; however, it doesn’t offer anything that you wouldn’t find in any other restaurant in its category, making it a largely forgettable restaurant.