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Thierry Verrat: A Michelin Star Menu at the Conrad Cairo

We were among the first to try Michelin Star Chef Thierry Verrat's pop-up menu at the Conrad Cairo's Oak Grill - one of the few men that have ever had us saying ooh la la without being sarcastic...

One of the primary Perks of our job - and we purposely use a capital P because some of them just deserve such a distinction - is getting invited to wine and dine at certain restaurants - after which we spend weeks pining over how delicious the food was and mentally kicking ourselves for not ordering more. Such was the case when we got treated last weekend to a meal by Thierry Verrat, a Michelin Star French chef, gracing our koshari-loving nation with his killer cuisine until December 4th. The French chef has taken up (temporary) residence at the Conrad's Oak Grill, whipping up a storm of culinary creations as well as offering cooking lessons (newlyweds, we suggest you try these out).

So we headed over last Thursday and started off the evening with our wine selections. Now let us just say, this was somewhat of an intimidating process; we'd never felt so uncultured and unrefined as when the waiter brought over the wine menu and we all pretended to peruse it like we knew what we were doing and then just stared at each other, not sure what to select. The waiter, of course, looked condescendingly at us, probably thinking, 'You are clearly no connoisseurs of wine you basic peasants. Tsk tsk.’ He was probably right. So we finally did what one does in these situations, held back giggles, and asked the waiter to recommend a wine. He selected the very first one on the menu, some unpronounceable French wine and brought it over. Needless to say, Egyptian wine is good and all (we use the term 'good' loosely) but damn, this French wine was delicious. It went down smoothly and we pretty much polished off the bottle faster than you could say merci.

So.Much.Wine.

We then ordered up, and did our very bestest not to devour the bread that came first – because we didn’t want to get full on freaking bread of all things – which was hard because the bread tasted like they'd flown it in from France and made us feel like we were sitting on the Champs Elysees and needed berets. Finally, our dinner was served.

Now, we really needn’t have worried about filling up, because as per French custom, the portions were, well, French (read: miniscule model-style portions). That's why those damn French stay so skinny. That's the trick. We Egyptians like to have a nice hefty mountain of food on our plate, weighing as much as a newborn. Maybe that's why we're like, number two on the world fat index, dominate diabetes rankings, fit in somewhere in the top ten in heart attacks... 

We started out with some royal Red Sea shrimps tempura, perfectly crisped. Next up our lobster arrived - literally the best if not the smallest - piece of lobster we’d tasted in our lives. Soaked in a splendid coral butter sauce with tarragon, it was buttery and beautiful and we were torn between wanting to let everyone at the table taste it just so they could understand the phenomenon that was this particular lobster dish, or just straight up keep it for ourselves. Obviously, we did the latter. The veal fillet, was - no suprise here – perfection, and the Dover sole fillet covered with truffle puff pastry changed the way we saw fish forever. Fish are NOT friends, Nemo, they’re food. Sorry, not sorry.

Finally, after dithering over the dessert menu for ages. We selected an After Eight based creation, which looked so perfectly crafted when it arrived we were reluctant to ruin its artistic value by piercing it with our forks. With a chocolate biscuit base, and layers of minty goodness, we positively swooned at the dessert. We also tried the Panacotta ‘flavoured with wood of wine barrels’ which was three little cups, all rich and creamy without being overly heavy, with a crumbly top, ‎none of which, thankfully, tasted anything like wood. Obviously, we dug in like there was no tomorrow. We also tried the lemon zephyr (no association to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers song) with vanilla beans and lemon sorbet caviar. It was a lemony fresh sensation, sweet and tangy and the perfect end to a fabulous meal. We suggest you make your way over to Conrad’s Oak Grill before the 4th of December, to taste some of the French phenomenon’s fantastic dishes before Thierry Verrat will be abandoning us and heading off to cook in other nations…

You can check out Conrad’s Facebook page here or follow them on Instagram @conradcairo. 

Main image courtesy of Tarek Baradie. 

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