We headed over to the Cairo Marriott's signature Japanese restaurant and entered a gateway to the ancient traditions of sushi eating thanks to their brilliant offers.
While Egypt has no shortage of sushi places these days, when you’re after something really special – an authentic Japanese meal without all the deep frying and cream cheese – there’s only a handful of places to go. One such culinary adventure lays behind the glorious façade of the Marriott Cairo in Zamalek and goes by the name of Torii – a Japanese word meaning your gateway. And a gateway it is – as soon as you walk in you get a Lost in Translation vibe, feeling a lot like a young Scarlett Johannson discovering a foreign land. With a long sushi bar dominating one side of the room and a brilliant live teppanyaki station on the other, we knew we were in for a treat when we saw a table of Japanese businessmen chowing down on what must be the most authentic Japanese restaurant Cairo has on offer.
We sat down on a cosy table by the window giving us a good view of the whole restaurant. We were quickly presented with an a la carte menu spanning starters, soups and salads all the way to sushi and sashimi and on to dessert. We were also offered something pretty special – known as Omakase in Japan, the sushi chef prepares a selection of rolls and sashimi slices to his choosing, making sure you only get the crème de la crème of the offerings. Couple that with the fact that every Monday and Friday, they offer Omakase in an all-you-can-eat format – the chef will send down more of his selections as soon as you finish the plate in front of you – and we were sold.
First up, an amuse bouche to remind us that this is indeed a fine dining establishment, and a far cry from the fast food type of sushi eating we've come accustomed to in Cairo. A delicate slice of salmon, asparagus and a couple of pieces of tempura crab were the perfect appetite-whetters, especially accompanied by some authentic Japanese Sake - their national liquor made of rice. We quickly ordered a couple of Asahi beers and waited for our Omakase platters. Each of us were presented with a eye-pleasing display of at least 30 pieces of sushi and sashimi, including maki and nigiri in all its forms. From succulent tuna, to fresh eel and bright pink salmon, we got a true taste of the seven seas, fuss-free. Meanwhile, the brilliant display over at the the Teppenyaki grill made us wish we had more space in our stomachs.
At 180 LE ++ per person for the all-you-can-eat offer (only valid on Mondays and Fridays), Torii's offerings are extremely competitive and, taking a more traditional approach to the ancient cuisine, it certainly is a whole different experience. We'll definitely be back to give the Teppanyaki a go and fill up on Asahi beer.
Find out more about Torii on the Cairo Marriott's Facebook page here.