Spectra: Restaurant’s Latest Branch Opens in Haram
173, El Haram St.
Like some kind of epidemic, Spectra
continues to pop up across Cairo. Residents of Haram can now enjoy the
restaurant’s mix of fast food and quick-serve international dishes. Located on
the mammoth El Haram Street close by the popular and populated El Arish Street,
Spectra’s allotted restaurant area is small compared to its counterparts, but
the familiar Spectra look has been copy-pasted into it.
The jumbo combo (44.99LE) has almost become
the signature dish at Spectra. The large starter platter consists of four Santa
Fe spring rolls, four chicken strips, four fried mozzarella sticks and a whole
heap of onion rings. The platter is served with pots of blue cheese, thousand
island and barbeque sauces. The plate was impressively served within five minutes
of ordering, and although we were pleased to be able to gorge so soon, we
quickly came to realise that any hopes of this fried-party of a plate being anything
like fresh were dashed. The first sign came with the fact that everything bar
the onion rings was lukewarm, almost on the verge of cold. The fried mozzarella
sticks, for example, were chewy when we were looking forward to gooey. Nonetheless,
the sheer magnitude of the starter would make even the pickiest of eaters rabid
Anyone familiar with the Spectra dining
experience knows that, like so many restaurant chains in Cairo, most of the
mains dishes are served with your option of one side serving of pasta (penne,
fettuccine or spaghetti) or two sides of French fries, mashed potato, sautéed
vegetables or corn on the cob.
With our beef medallions (64.99LE) we
ordered sautéed vegetables and corn on the cob. What we received was actually
mashed potatoes instead of the vegetables; there was a mix-up in the kitchen,
and the potatoes and corn should have actually come out with our other order –
Italian beef baiar (64.99LE).
We saw traces of the Café de Paris butter on the beef
medallions, as promised by the menu, but we just couldn’t taste it. The beef
fillets were cooked outstandingly – just a bit pink in the middle – but overall, we weren’t blown away, and the
meat was a little dry. The flavours of dill, rosemary and chives as well as
mustard and countless other ingredients of Café de Paris butter would have added a whole new dimension to it.
Italian beef baiar was a much more colourful dish. A
sizeable beef fillet is covered with diced onions, peppers and tomatoes, and
blanketed with a thick layer of molten mozzarella. The beef was tender and full
of flavour on account of the trimmings, but the rather plain-tasting mozzarella
was far too much. As for the sides; the vegetables and the mashed potato were
At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the
restaurant was packed, and half of the staff seemed overwhelmed, while the
other half seemed distracted by the football match on TV. But overall, El Haram
Street’s latest dining addition has succeeded in replicating the Spectra mould,
and will serve the area well.