Dinner With The Maestro At The Intercontinental Cairo Citystars
We recently sat down for a three course meal at the Maestro Italian Restaurant inside the Intercontinental Cairo Citystars hotel; we sent our resident heavily-tattooed, heavy-metal-loving white guy. Here's what transpired...
Walking through the lobby of the Intercontinental Cairo Citystars towards Maestro, I was greeted by sphinxes standing guard around pillars and fountains, accompanied by soft piano music. It's the kind of place where every employee smiles and greets you with a “good evening, sir.” It was quite fancy, in a distinctly Egyptian sort of way. Being an amateur fancypants at best, it was difficult to maintain an air of aloof sophistication in such environs, but I was starving, so I held it together. Crossing the threshold into Maestro, however, it becomes a whole another snazzy animal.
It was like going through a teleporting doorway you don’t notice until your already through. Going from Cairo to a small restaurant in northern Italy somewhere. The beautiful female accompanying me ordered a glass of red wine while I went with the white. In fancy restaurant fashion, the waiter poured a tiny bit of wine in each glass and waited for us to smell and twirl it around, acting like we knew what we were doing before pouring the rest.
Just after our orders were taken we were served a plate of homemade bread with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and parmesan. This created a fine mattress upon which our impending fancy food baby could rest.
For starters we were served a crab salad with florence fennel and bottarga alongside beef carpaccio with rocket, pine nuts, aged balsamic vinegar and parmesan. I knew what a few of those words meant but most I had to Google. In fact I can safely say this was the most Google intensive meal this predominately pizzavorious animal has ever had. The crab salad was delicious and the beef carpaccio was so impossibly thin (it must have been sliced by robots) it melted in your mouth, filling it with flavour.
Our main courses arrived on rays of divine light, to the sound of an angelic chorus. The presentation was so good that I felt ashamed to put something so beautiful in my stupid ugly mouth. The rack of lamb was perfectly cooked and served with salsa verde and roasted potatoes. Accented by rosemary, the succulence of the meat was brought out and kicked me right in the face.
The scallops came with braised cime di rape chili, datterini tomatoes and lentils. The seafood and chili combo paired together perfectly and left my brain asking “that was amazing. What just happened?"
Dessert. Dear god the dessert. I wasn’t ready. I thought we were ready but we weren’t ready! An almond tart beside raspberry and vanilla panna cotta (had to Google it). Independently each dish stood on its own as an extra fancy end to an exceedingly fancy meal. But I made the dangerous decision to layer some of the panna cotta on the tart. Combing the two desserts may have given me a stroke.
If you’re looking for a fancy, romantic, candlelit, Italian dinner to celebrate (or perhaps apologise) Maestro is the spot to be. Excellent atmosphere, including Italian renditions of classics like My Girl, and absolutely stellar food and service.
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