Despite the fact that restaurants and cafes in Egypt are soon going to outnumber Egyptians themselves, it is still hard to come by genuinely good food on a regular basis. That’s why we love it when we see a restaurant that is consistently providing tasty food.
And one of the names in Cairo’s gastronomic scene that rightfully does so is Crave. So, Fifth Settlement’s inhabitants, rejoice! Because Crave has officially opened its Cairo Festival City branch and we were lucky to be part of it.
The restaurant is ideally located right in front of the Village’s dancing fountain, with outdoor and indoor seating. The menu featured all of Crave’s staple dishes, as well as a handful of new ones that are also available in all of its other branches. Being the greedy and food loving people that we are, we went all out.
We ordered the Taco Salad, their cult favorite Shrimp Konafa for an appetizer, the New York Strip Loin and Chicken MCM for mains and, finally, the Date Tulip and the Mini Cheesecakes for dessert.
The Shrimp Konafa needs no introduction. The people at Crave are the masters when it comes to this adored appetizer. The shrimps were cooked perfectly, the konafa showed absolutely no signs of oiliness or sogginess and the sweet chili sauce was the perfect condiment.
The Taco Salad was so big and filling it could easily qualify as a meal of its own. It had a variety of delicious ingredients, like chicken, lettuce, sweet corn and our absolute favorite, candied walnuts all smothered in ranch dressing and encased in a perfectly crisp taco shell. Now, this isn’t the salad you go to if you want to keep it light and healthy (opt for their Salmon Salad, instead), but it’s definitely full of flavor with the walnuts providing an interesting layer of flavor and texture.
For the mains, the New York Strip Loin immediately caught our attention. When we took our first bite, we knew why. The strip was cooked to perfection, according to our liking, and without even dipping it in the accompanying onion jam or smothering it with the piece of herb butter on top, the meat was jam-packed with flavor.
The side dish of potato gratin was incredibly flavorful and equally generous, but the hunky strip loin needed to be paired with something lighter and sharper because it was already a feast of its own.
The Chicken MCM, which is two pieces of fried chicken breast topped with onions and melted mozzarella cheese, did not disappoint either, but it also did not wow us as much. Although the chicken was well fried and the cheese was very generous, it needed some sort of a kick to stand out from the sea of fried chickens that are offered everywhere in the city.
However, the pieces of fried mushroom that came with the chicken deserve a standing ovation for being perfectly crispy and delicious.
For the most glorious course, that is dessert, we decided to skip the mainstream favorite Chocolate Fondant and go for the Date Tulip. And it was a disaster. In the best way possible! The plate came drenched in caramel that – without any exaggeration – had to be one of the best, if not the best, caramel sauces we’ve ever tasted.
The dates were so succulent and provided a boost of flavor to the already orgasmic caramel. The biscuit tuile was perfectly delicate and provided a nice crunch, albeit not enough, to the dish.
The Mini Cheesecakes, on the other hand, are the perfect sweet dish for sampling and sharing. The three cheesecakes were topped with a strawberry coulis, chocolate and caramel. Once again, the caramel topped cheesecake was our favorite, although the strawberry topped one was nice and fresh. The chocolate topped one was a bit on the heavy side, but any true sweet tooth and every chocoholic out there would absolutely love it.
All in all, our experience was great. Everything tasted so good and we ate so much we could barely walk back to our car. The service was swift and attentive, and the waiters did not hesitate to inform us with the specials and missing items from the menu the minute we were handed our menus.
Also, the portions of most of the dishes were quite generous without bordering on heart-attack inducing. If you haven’t checked out their latest branch yet, we highly recommend that you do. And go there with an empty stomach because you will need it!
WE SAID THIS: Check out our own food review on The Stonegrill Porto Cairo here.