Nominated for yet another Luxury Hotel Award, we headed to The Gabriel Hotel for a lavish four-course Iftar last weekend, and left equal parts stuffed and awe-stricken.
One of Cairo’s hidden treasures, The Gabriel Hotel in Heliopolis has never failed to wow us. The boutique property looks like something straight out of the pages of Vogue, with all its glossy fixtures and fittings, and is shielded from the hustle and bustle of the big city, tucked away in Sun City mall. We headed over there last weekend to get a taste of their fabulous French and authentically Oriental Iftar offerings, supplementing their original gourmet European menu with some Ramadan favourites this festive season at their signature restaurant Salt.
We were seated just minutes before sunset, thanks to Cairo’s notorious traffic, and were immediately presented with the seasonal set menu. With four finger licking courses on offer for 250 EGP ++, we must say it was difficult to choose. However, the restaurant manager was quick to sense our panic and came over to talk us through the dishes. We started with a cold glass of traditional karkade before attacking our Cream of Mushroom Soup and Bisque de Crab with a vengeance. With generous portions and served with freshly baked bread, made on site, the soups certainly kicked-started our appetites.
For our starters (we love it when a soup is considered separate from ‘starters’), we opted for Croustillant de Crevettes (shrimp and ginger sambousek), served with a tangy mango chutney, and the Mushroom Salad, served in a creamy mustard dressing. The sambousek was a nice nod to Ramadan traditions, but elevated with exotic ingredients and perfectly fried. Though the mustard dressing made the Mushroom Salad a little too intense to eat alone, the freshly baked bread kept arriving at our table to balance things out. The chef and his team at Salt pay extremely close attention to presentation, making pretty much every course – including the beautiful roses carved out of butter – totally Instagrammable.
The set menu includes three choices of main dish – braised lamb chops, grilled chicken and a fillet of fish with lemon butter sauce – or a choice of their homemade pastas. We had our stomachs set on the grilled chicken, and gave the fettuccini pollo e funghi a test drive. The grilled chicken, marinated and spiced with Oriental herbs, was perfectly cooked, retaining its moistness, and served with grilled vegetables and perfect little rice formation. The homemade pasta was a home run, served perfectly al dente and drenched in a moreish cream sauce, and stirred with slices of chicken breast and fresh mushrooms.
Though we barely had room for dessert, our freshly brewed coffees were served with a side of typical Oriental sweets, also made on site, and left us feeling strangely satisfied, even when we couldn’t breathe from binge eating. But, hey, if you don’t put on a few pounds over Ramadan, when can you? The gorgeous setting had us lounging in our seats long after our plates were cleared and it’s clear why the property has been once again nominated for the global Luxury Hotel Awards in the boutique category (you can vote for them here).
Find out more about the Gabriel Hotel and how you can book your table at Salt on their official Facebook page here.