We headed over to the much anticipated opening night of Jambalaya, Zamalek's latest culinary addition offering up a Spanish fusion feast.
With all the traffic and general commotion we face daily, it’s easy to let this city get to you. Sometimes the only way to deal with the grind is to find a way to escape, even if you don't have the time or money. This is when the simple act of trying new style of cuisine can be a saving grace. Yesterday, we took our taste buds to the opening of Jambalaya, Zamalek's newest culinary addition and the only Spanish restaurant in Cairo. Cosy yet bright, our first impressions transported us to Spain, as Jambalaya is authentically decorated and reminiscent of small tapas bar during the last few days of summer.
Investigating the menu, we were taken back by just how many options there were. Gazpacho, Empeñadas, Paella... Everything sounded delicious but, unfortunately, there is only so much gut space. The meal began with an offering of non-alcoholic Sangria, which turned out to be grape juice with cinnamon and perhaps a touch of orange. It was deliciously sweet, but for avid lovers of Sangria, it is missing something... the alcohol.
Immediately thereafter, shots of Gazpacho, both red and white, were placed on the table. Chilled soups are not very common in Egypt, and both were good but the red Gazpacho was supremely better, and we’ve made a mental note to order a big bowl of it next time we visit.
Upon finishing the shots, we were then presented with a myriad of tantalising tapas. Both beef and cheese Empeñadas were served sizzling hot and were fine on their own but, when dipped into the secret sauce served alongside them, our taste buds were taken to a whole new world. The Guacamole had a great consistency, but some of us believed it could have used a little more acid (perhaps tomato or lemon) and a dash of pepper. The Temaki was essentially a Spanish style wara2 3enab except filled with shrimp and dill which was a nice surprise, though they could have done with a dipping sauce. Although all the tapas dishes we were offered tasted amazing, the absolute highlight were the Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos – roasted red peppers, stuffed with Haloumi cheese and thyme that had us itching for more.
After the tapas came a Seafood Paella. For some of us it was spot on, for others it was missing just a dash of seasoning. All the components were there and, at the end of the day, it was mighty delicious, especially for a dish that’s rarely done properly in Egypt. For dessert, we treated ourselves to the Crema Catalana, Spain’s take on the crème brûlée, served with a raspberry compote. Without the raspberry compote it was nothing but when put together each spoonful was heavenly and was definitely the sweetest way to end a delicious trip.
We will definitely be returning to Jambalaya in the near future. Keep in mind that we went for their opening so obviously there are a few kinks that need to be sorted, but all in all the service, the food, and the atmosphere were wonderful. Simply put, Jambalaya is a trip your taste buds won't soon forget.
Reservations recommended. Find out more about Jambalaya and how to book here.