The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

The Grill Restaurant & Lounge

The Grill Restaurant & Lounge: Plush Dining at the Semiramis Intercontinental

reviewed by
Soraya Morayef
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The Grill Restaurant & Lounge: Plush Dining at the Semiramis Intercontinental

Walking into French restaurant The Grill at the
Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel, you will instantly feel underdressed. Open
from 7PM onwards with a pianist playing live on the baby grand piano from
Sunday to Thursday, The Grill seems like a perfect spot for a business dinner.

Divided into a lounge and restaurant section, The
Grill’s restaurant offers smoking and non-smoking spaces, where round tables
flanked by wooden panelling look onto the Nile view. A wall-sized pop-art
portrait of a woman’s face strikingly contrasts with the restaurant’s masculine
Cuban-cigar-and-port atmosphere.

The menu is limited to three choices for appetisers,
soups, main courses and desserts, making the selection process much easier if
you’re the type to panic over too many choices.

The waiter offered us a bread basket to choose between
delicious brown, onion, cheese and white bread rolls, followed by a
complimentary amuse bouche of grilled courgette wrapped in bolognaise.

For an appetiser, we chose the duck liver terrine
(110LE), which was so delectable that we literally held onto the plate when the
waiter came to take it away and scraped off the remains with our bread. The
liver is served in a tiny bowl next to a bed of lettuce holding three slices of
lightly grilled white toast and a spoon of fig marmalade. The smooth texture of
the liver blended beautifully with the sharp sweetness of the fig, and we were
ready to declare this restaurant a winner after just one bite.

Sadly, the main courses were a bit of an anti-climax
after the duck triumph. The US Black Angus rib eye (180LE) was served with
delicious gratinated potatoes, tomato Provencal and glazed vegetables. The rib
eye was cooked to a perfect rare as per our order and tasted great, but it just
didn’t live up to the standards set by the aforementioned duck.

The assorted seafood Blanquette of king prawn,
calamari and grouper (110LE) arrived in a lightly garnished cream sauce with a
side of risotto. The seafood’s flavour was so completely overpowered by the
sauce that it was hard to tell  the grouper apart from the prawn.
Described as sundried tomato risotto on the menu, the risotto arrived plain and
garnished with a piece of sundried tomato. Not exactly the same thing.

Completely stuffed, we ordered the rich chocolate
caramel cake with lemon reduction (35LE), which was more of a mousse cake with
a layer of chocolate mousse on top of caramel, and a side of caramel sauce that
we gladly lapped up.

The Grill offers a list of French digestives (85LE)
including Poire William (pear liqueur), Kirsch, Vielle Prune and a tempting
champagne liqueur (70LE). You can also sample fresh filter coffee (25LE), iced
lemon tea with mint (18LE) among other non-alcoholic choices.  Our glass
of Beau Soleil red wine was a pleasant surprise; the local wine was just sweet
enough and sharp, which went nicely with the steak.

The Grill is a perfect dining spot if you have
business guests you want to impress with impeccable service and a splendid Nile
view. This reviewer would gladly return just to sample their duck liver terrine
heaven again.

360 Tip

The Grill offers a private dining room for up to twelve people with large windows overlooking Garden City, wooden panelling and an elegant wooden dining table.

Best Bit

Hands down, the duck liver terrine.

Worst Bit

The prices are quite high.With appetisers ranging from 70LE to 110LE and main courses from 110LE to 180LE, this is clearly an expensive restaurant where you’ll pay well over 500LE for a three-course meal for two.

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