Pestle and Mortar: Charming New Restaurant in Mall of Arabia
Cairo has more than enough restaurants, yet
there seems to be a real lack of character and personality in the culture of
dining. For all the honest efforts, good intentions and decent cuisine, menus often
use the mantra of ‘the bigger the better’. Striking a balance is indeed hard, but the
newly opened Pestle and Mortar in 6th of October City’s Mall of
Arabia comes very close.
The sleek, modern interior is accented with
modest purples, and the seating ranges from tables for two to larger group
tables, as well as snug booths. The hot and sour shrimp soup (34.95LE)
flattered to deceive on account of being crammed with too many mushrooms. This
turned the soup into a solid brown, and it blunted the sharp sourness that you’d
yearn for. The zesty coriander prawns (49.95LE) lived up to their name, and
were complimented perfectly by the mysterious Mortar fusion sauce.
starters include a classic peanut chicken satay (35.95LE) and the Philly
prawnafah (49.95LE), which consists of grilled shrimp baked in konafa, and is
topped with cream cheese. The salads on offer are creative and
alluring, and include the garden salad (28.95LE) of rocket, lettuce and mint
along with almonds, orange segments and orange dressing.
Asian influences are much more evident in
the mains sections, with chicken prepared teriyaki- and Hanoi-style (57.95LE
and 65.95LE respectively). Stir-fried
beef is sold by the weight, so 150g will set you back 69.95LE while 300g costs
119.95LE, and is on offer in a range of different marinades and preparations.
Our order of Angus prime beef fillet was
cooked closer to rare than the ordered medium, but the meat itself was well-seasoned,
tender and grew more delicious with every bite. Though the Thai coconut curry
is suited to more of an acquired taste, the coconut milk was as creamy and
plush as it looked on the large strips of chicken, but was lacking heavily on
the hotness you’d except from the spicy green Thai sauce.
Drinks are plentiful and fresh, with the
freshies (19.95LE) combining several peculiar but agreeable ingredients. The
orange lime and mint drink is a phenomenal citrus treat, with the zucchini and
cucumber-infused options also stealing the limelight.
Pestle and Mortar really comes into its own
with the liquid nitrogen ice cream and sorbet, which are frozen instantly at
your table using said nitrogen. More run-of-the
mill, but no less impressive desserts are available, and the Belgian chocolate
fondant is a must for chocolate lovers.
The staff are helpful, attentive and best
of all, charming. They are happy to make recommendations based on your tastes,
and they had something positive to say about every dish that they were asked
about. The menu is vegan-friendly, with many of the dishes suitable for vegetarians. Healthy eating is championed by the restaurant, and all the bases for their sauces are fat-free and made of fresh vegetable stock.
Despite its shopping mall setting, Pestle
and Mortar is one of those places that oozes the kind of attention to detail
and commitment that give you piece of mind as you wait for your order.