Saki Sushi Lounge: Extravagant Sushi Restaurant at Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers
As we all know, restaurants in Cairo tends to succumb to the latest fashionable food fads. Following trend, Saki Sushi Lounge in the Fairmont Heliopolis offers quality, authentic sushi; prepared by their very own Japanese chef.
Tucked away in a corner at the front of the lobby, the restaurant revolves around a small kiosk-looking kitchen, whilst the spacious seating area is surrounded by exotic greenery and soothing water features. Greeted by an Asian member of staff, we were seated swiftly and were not only offered their own menu, but for those not keen on sushi, menus from both the Pool Bar and Aqua E Luce. Unfortunately throughout the meal, we found the service to be continuously slow and often inattentive.
The drinks menu offered up an array of imaginatively named cocktails (90LE-105LE), flavourful tea fusions (30LE) and traditional, but incredibly expensive, sake (150LE-1760LE). Made with loose tea leaves, the green tea (30LE) was particularly pleasant.
As with most eateries in five star establishments, Saki charge slightly more than other sushi joints, with each special roll (35LE-130LE) only coming as six pieces; choices can become a little limited depending on appetite and budget.
The sushi options are widely varied, from simple nigiri (24LE-80LE/2 pieces) and sashimi (40LE-80LE/3 pieces) to more adventurous temaki (45LE-60LE) and special rolls (35LE-130LE). We noticed that the cheapest choices rarely contained any fish. Combination platters start at 150LE for a small platter of sashimi and nigiri, or 230LE for an assortment of sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls and work their way up to 325LE for the largest combination.
With little help from the waitress, we ordered two portions of ‘shake’ – or salmon – sashimi (50LE/each), one serving of Una Kiyu special roll (50LE) – a mixture of grilled eel, crunchy cucumber, avocado – and a Philadelphia roll (50LE) with smoked salmon, cucumber, cream cheese and dill. Despite taking a surprisingly long time to arrive, our selection was perfectly presented, along with a small mound of fresh salad, ginger slithers and wasabi.
Despite being a little on the small side, the salmon sashimi was both soft and flavourful. The fluffy, bite-sized rolls were excellent and brilliantly put together, with the different ingredients complimenting one another, without overbearing each other. The Una Kiyu pieces came with a rich, deliciously sweet sauce, similar to a plum sauce, whilst the unusual dill topping on the Philadelphia roll gave a delightfully light, fresh tasting finish.
For dessert, we were intrigued by the fruit and coconut sushi (45LE), but were disappointed to find this dish unavailable. Instead, we opted for the deep fired banana spring rolls (45LE) which were disappointingly small, lukewarm, and quite obviously pre-made rather than freshly fried. The saving grace of this dish had to be the generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and rich chocolate paste on the side.
Although the sushi itself was delicious, Saki Sushi Lounge does little to justify its high prices in a city where decent sushi is more than readily available.