If you’re with company you want to impress, the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Cairo’s new European steakhouse is the perfect place to go. By Noha Mohammed
If you’re looking for a place to impress a client or business associate, you’re in for a treat at the Kempinski Maxim Palace. The hotel itself is, as the name suggests, a palace and its regal décor is sure to wow any company you might be hosting. The Romanov is a European steakhouse that simply oozes charm and exclusivity. You can almost see the deals being struck through the smoke of expensive cigars wafting about the softly lit room with its decidedly masculine décor: dark paneled walls, plush banquette seating and salmon tablecloths.
The décor is classy and so is the carefully crafted menu, which though by no means extensive is clearly designed to impress. Starters include classic beef tartar (LE 250), fine de Claire oysters (LE 550) and lobster cocktail with thousand island sauce and endives (LE 320). I chose the Home Marinated Salmon (LE 120), chilled chubby chunks of pink smoked salmon sitting atop a melt-in-the-mouth cream cheese concoction delicately flavored with green capers and fresh dill. Looking forward to richer pickings ahead, my partner passed up the Raw Bar Platter comprising tuna tartar, marinated salmon, mussels and oysters — which you can enhance with salmon roe (LE 200) or your choice of two types of caviar ranging in price from LE 450 for 30g of black starlet to LE 2100 for 30g of Russian Beluga. If you’re really hungry you can request 113g of Russian Beluga which will set you back a whopping LE 6,800! Instead, he chose a much lighter Caesar salad (LE 120) featuring romaine lettuce, beef bacon, anchovies and a good helping of Parmesan shavings. For those chilly winter evenings, couple with Lobster Cappuccino (LE 110), a flavorful lobster bisque with creamed tarragon.
This being a steakhouse, the helpful waiters recommended we try the house specialties, indicating their forte was a far better choice than the other options on offer. If you’re not a fan of red meat, you can choose between Deviled Spring Chicken (LE 190) with Dijon mustard and potato gaufrette or Chicken Breast (LE 150) with caramelized diced pepper, rosemary, garlic and lemon salt. Seafood and burgers are also on offer.
With the maitre d’s kind help I selected the Wagyu Tenderloin (LE 800) with a side of gratin Dauphinois and tartar sauce. Enough for two, the juicy cut of Australian beef was cooked to perfection as ordered: just browned on the outside and tender on the inside. The potted potato was nothing less than decadent, perfectly golden and crisp on the outside, fork tender in the middle and melt-in the-mouth creamy at the bottom. Top marks for presentation too, especially the carvedout baked potato bucket filled with chargrilled mushroom and veggies and sided by two uniformly plump cherry tomatoes to add a dash of color.
My partner chose the heartier Surf n’ Turf (LE 500), a classic combination of US Angus tenderloin and half a lobster tail smothered in curried béarnaise. The Angus cut was perhaps even more flavorful than my wagyu, and with an extra helping of fresh-baked wheatgerm loaf with herbed butter, was sheer heaven on a fork.
Portions are extremely generous and obviously cater more to male patrons — so ladies, if you have a sweet tooth and don’t want to pass up the dreamy desserts that roll around on the sweets trolley, you’ll have to sacrifice part of your entrée. It’s just impossible to polish off a three-course meal here.
The food and beverage manager himself stopped by to say hello and ask after us. At his recommendation, I chose the chocolate mousse (LE 60) and helped myself to one creamy white chocolate rolled around a medley of colorful dried fruit pieces. My partner, having put away all of his own entrée and helping himself to the rest of my wagyu, could only manage a cup of tea and looked on enviously as I savored the creamy chocolate mousse. Both of us went home feeling pampered, relaxed and extremely well-fed.