When The Smokery held Egypt's chapter of the gastronomical phenomenon that is Gout De France, we left our bad eating habits behind and headed to Katameya...
As a general office rule, we tend to call McDonald’s a minimum of three times a day. The times we don’t call McDonald’s means we have instead opted for Pizza Hut. Needless to say, our taste buds are rather accustomed to food of the fast, fried, greasy, junk variety. But when we heard upscale eatery The Smokery was hosting world renowned French culinary experience, Gout De France, at their Katameya Heights spot, we decided we should up our food game a little bit and head over there for some fancy French nibbles. And you know they’re going to be nibbles, because well, France. The event celebrates French gastronomy and takes place simultaneously in various places around the world; Egypt’s version was led by Chef Vincent Guillou who had created a special menu just for the evening. It’s all very haute cuisine and ooh la la and all that. So changed out of our office hobo attire, put on our sheyaka clothes and made our way up to The Smokery to indulge.
The always-beautiful spot was lit up with soft glowing candlelight and each of their intimate, glass-walled rooms was packed full of lovers of fine food. Not your McDonald’s crowd, that’s for sure. Like all perfect evenings, our night was started with a little champagne. Which is obviously how all nights should be started. Yeah, we're fancy like that.
We kicked off the food portion of the night with some Carpaccio. Now there’s many a place in Cairo that actually does decent Carpaccio but this was made with artichoke barigoule, vongoles, and pesto arugula dressing. Needless to say, all the unexpected ingredients complimented each other, it was amazing, raw meat has never tasted so good, and it got our taste buds fired up for the rest of the meal.
Our goat cheese and mesclun salad with figs arrived, looking all fresh and springy. Now we don’t know what mesclun is and we aren’t big fans of figs. WE ARE NOW. It was perfection in a salad bowl; portions fit for a ballerina but delicious nonetheless.
The beef was the ultimate highlight of the night. Beef tenderloin in red wine sauce, with mushrooms, cannelloni, and mashed sweet potato. Being the carnivorous humans that we are, we ravaged that beef with a vengeance, and it was nothing short of magical. Yes, to us, beef can be described as magical. Yes. Especially when cooked in red wine sauce because one of the best things in the world is wine and its usage should occur as often as possible. In our humble opinion. The sweet potatoes we consume are usually of the batata street cart variety and we wouldn’t have pictured them with beef prior to this meal, but that Vincent (yeah, we’re casually calling the chef Vincent.). That Vincent! He knew what he was doing and we polished off our plates so well we don’t think they even needed to wash them. Not very French and fancy of us but what-ever. Mouth-watering would be an understatement.
All the while, as we were in food heaven, devouring dish after amazing dish, Jazz Issola was wandering around the place and serenading the guests with her velvety vocals, crooning out French classics and making you think you were actually in Paris.
Our next dish was Alexandrian grouper fish with cauliflower semoule, baby zucchini, and light garlic cream. We have yet to meet more than three people on this earth who like cauliflower. We are now cauliflower converts. Or only in this form. By this chef. At this restaurant. When in doubt, eat whatever the French give you.
And finally, pièce de résistance, the delectable dessert. Chocolate feuillantine, Valhorna dark chocolate cream, caramelised pear, cooked in flavoured syrup and topped with caramel ice cream. No comment necessary.
Needless to say, our next meal did not live up to the sublime standards that The Smokery’s Gout De France just set. Sigh. It’s okay. We’ll live.
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