FoodLife & Style

Tamarai redefines its gourmet identity

Now that Tamarai has decided, following a two-year stint as one of Cairo’s poshest night spots, to tap into the gourmet world of fine dining, we thought a tasting session of the venue's new menu was in order.

Tamarai has always had a dining set-up indoors–the tables to the left of the bar’s entrance sat idly while party-goers would magnetically mingle with the city’s who’s-who, sipping Tamarai Martinis and munching on finger food.

With untapped foodie potential, managing partners Ayman Baky and Ahmed Belatagy decided to fly in French chef Marc Framient and redefine Tamarai’s overlooked menu selection.

Although the tasting session didn't cover the entirety of Fraimient’s workup, Al-Masry Al-Youm feels confident in offering up the highlights of last night’s offering.

For one, do not shy away from the St. Germain soup because of the word "cappucino" in its menu description–a creamy green pea and mint concoction, the St. Germain is a fabulous choice for winter warmth and a great palate warm-up for the hungry diner settled in at a Tamarai table.

The new menu is determined to mix and match cultural cuisines but for an Italian twist (and for the pasta enthusiast), the sea scallop risotto and the Gorgonzola gnocchi topped with mouth watering bresaola are clear food critic’s picks.

An all-round favorite would be the spiced wine sauce atop the ostrich medallions. The medallions are served medium rare (and are not for the fainthearted meat eater) but the side of mashed potatoes infused with almonds and raisins adds just the right sweet finish.

The sea bass dish did not particularly stand out but was helped immensely by a delicate tarragon sauce. The sea bass dish is predominantly green, with even the sea bass tucked away in leaves of ruccola, and the side of black polenta was tasty, but overall the dish was definitely in need of a more attractive presentation.

Tamarai’s desserts have also undergone a face lift. What was once a simple dose of banana spring rolls has morphed into a toffee glazed, caramel mousse accompanied, flaky pastry enclosed extravaganza. Other desserts included a topless dark chocolate pie and a cold chestnut souffle that vaguely resembled mild chestnut ice cream cake.

Although the menu, in proper Tamarai fashion, is quite steeply priced–with a light but full-flavored shrimp salad with passion fruit balsamic dressing costing LE100 and the St. Germain soup fantasy-priced at LE45–one would expect as much from the reputation of the place. But if you’re up for a gourmet dose of self-lavishing, it seems Tamarai will mark a visible spot on the map of Cairo’s luxury dining experience.

Tamarai's a la carte menu is served from 8PM until midnight and from Saturday until Wednesday (Tamarai's clubbers will have the venue to themselves on Thursdays and Fridays).

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