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Cairo Capital Club: When Cooking Becomes Art

In the second of Cairo Capital Club's enchanting Food Fusion nights, we headed over to enjoy some tantalising cuisine courtesy of Chef Markus Iten...

Expectations were high after we met Chef Markus Iten last week when he was telling us all about the challenge of cooking for the foodies of the city at the incredible Cairo Capital Club in the Art of Cooking night on Thursday, February 11, 2015. His excitement about presenting one of his favourite menus at the stunning venue high above the roofs of Garden City with spectacular views was contagious, and our mouths were watering more than usual when we visited an establishment that is currently claiming to serve the best food in town. Expectations aren't always a good thing, as disappointment follows more often than not. We are delighted to say that this time disappointment was not part of our experience.

Entering the classy venue, guests were welcomed with a selection of super tasty appetizers. Chef Markus had prepared bruschetta, flat bread with feta and fennel, and beef tacos with wasabi mayo amongst many other starters, each so distinctively different that every taste bud got some action. While getting our senses warmed up for the five course meal overlooking the Nile, Cairo Capital Club had added a violinist to the ensemble that was playing soft music throughout the night. In addition to the omnipresent piano tunes, the violinist was making his way across the room to enchant every guest, following the excellent waiters providing the almost 80 guests with wines, soft drinks, and water in abundance.

As an official starter, Chef Markus had prepared a Vegetable Fritto Misto with a huge serving of golden garlic and saffron mayonnaise that tasted as majestic as it looked. The vegetables had been slightly fried to be crispy, yet lost none of their taste to the cooking pan. Chef Markus told us his objective in all of his dishes was to have dishes taste like they should and not some overfried version of themselves. In his kitchen, “carrots taste like carrots” and Vegetable Fritto Misto, whatever it should taste like, could not have been better than what Chef Markus whipped up on Wednesday night. 

As an intermediate course we were surprised to see a White Broad Bean Cappuccino on the menu. 'Is it really time for a coffee yet?' we asked ourselves, only to find out seconds later that we were indeed not being fed a coffee. Despite looking like a big cup of something covered in milk foam, one sip of the cappuccino revealed that we were eating a faintly salty, thick bean soup that was filling, yet very smooth and light. Being anything but sweet, the unique cappuccino neutralized our taste buds to anticipate the first main course of the night.

Sea Bass with Tomato and Herb Salsa was a charming piece of the exquisite fish, covered in a subtle blend of spices that brought out the succulence of the dish. The cherry tomato and herb composition was an ideal addition to the light seafood dish, perfected by the delicious white wine. The next main course, however, upstaged the entire selection so far, as the creamy and smooth Wild Mushroom Velouté had a never-before-tasted sauce, surrounding the perfectly moist chicken breast and a mash of sweet potatoes which made it impossible to decide what to eat first. Thanks to Chef Markus' forty years of experience, every part of the dish complimented the other, and the basic skills he had told us all about were utilized to perfection and our bellies were definitely incredibly happy. 

Last but not least, Chef Markus joined the party, as his desserts were being distributed amongst the crowds. The Caramelized Figs came with a dense portion of Mousseline Mascarpone which was impossible to pass on, even for those who had reached their limits. The sweet treat with a distinct fruity taste melted in our mouths and made the last few taste buds that hadn’t been challenged that night happy. When Chef Markus asked us if we enjoyed the meal, no lies were necessary. Excellent, delicious and inventive are only a few words we would use to describe Chef Markus’s Art of Cooking, and we can't wait to return to Cairo Capital Club next month to experience the next chef to take on the challenge and bring a unique and exquisite menu to the foodies of Cairo... 

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