We head over to the InterContinental Semiramis' most celebrated restaurant for taste of the Far East...
Often voted the top restaurant in all of Egypt by publications and foodies alike, the InterContinental Semiramis' Birdcage has long been a favourite among those in the know. Authentic yet modern, exotic yet accessible, the upscale eatery is one that never fails to please. We headed over to the award-winning restaurant from some tantalising Thai food that made us forget anything we thought we knew about Asian cuisine.
The moment we walk in, we are greeted by the maître d'hôtel who was eager to seat us. Dimly lit yet accented with bright pops of colour against natural materials, from wood to stone, Birdcage has an almost spa-like quality to its ambiance, especially given the light tings and tangs of indiscernible Asian music in the background. We are quickly presented with warm hand towels and menus as water is poured in our glasses,and we take a quick browse of the wine list. Quick because, as seasoned drinkers, we know what we want. However, wine connoisseurs or the adventurous type will find a whole host of wines from France, South Africa and Italy, as well as local favourites. Then it was time to choose appetisers - and what's an Asian meal without spring rolls? Not your average, deep fried, greasy affair, Birdcage offers fresh - not friend - rice wrappers surrounding a textural explosion of flavours, combining sesame oil seasoned chicken and fresh vegetables, served with three different dips, range from sweet and sticky to to spicy and potent. We also choose the shrimp konafa, to test out Birdcage's flair for fusion. Lo and behold, six or seven king prawns, perfectly wrapped in spindly konafa, and deep fried a golden brown made it to our table. Presented in a friend wonton wrapper and served with the restaurant's signature sweet and sour dipping sauce, the dish was surprisingly light thanks to the perfect cooking of the prawns. Finally, a Thai green salad, combining fresh herbs, leafy greens and a dash of sesame oil was the perfect palate cleanser before we started on the mains.
Now if we're going to talk Thai food, we're going to talk curries. For our entrees, we selected a classic green chicken curry and prawns in red curry, complete with pineapple. With steamed rice being complimentary with any order on the menu, we soon realised we'll be needing quite a few bowls of rice as both sauces were delicious, having us dipping in long after the proteins were done. The green curry was just the right amount of spicy, balanced out by the creaminess provided by coconut milk and the sweetness of the chicken breast and tri-colour peppers stirred in. The prawns in red curry were a revelation; plump, sweet and perfectly cooked, the prawns themselves were moreish and generously portioned, swimming around with fresh pineapple chunks, adding a new dimension of flavour to the spicy sauce.
To tell you the truth, when it came time for dessert, we considered skipping out because A) we were full to the brim from all the delicious savoury courses and B) we're not quite sure what to expect from Asian sweets. However, a quick glimpse of the dessert menu had us stop and stare and call our waiter over immediately: they have deep fried ice cream. Within a few minutes, a hot, golden crispy shell arrived to our table, topped with a sprinkling of fruit. Breaking through the warm, crunchy exterior and mixing up the shell with one of the best vanilla ice creams we've ever tasted made for a spoonful of heaven, every time.
With relative value for money given the five-star, gourmet quality of food and service (main courses range between 75 - 125LE) Birdcage is perfect for the most special of occasions from hot dates to pay day (yes, that's a special occasion).
Find out more about Birdcage on the InterContinental Semiramis' Facebook page here.