It’s time for another one of our monthly team dinners and we decided to try something different and go middle eastern. Cafe Le Caire (note that it’s not Claire but Caire, which is French for Cairo) is more than just a restaurant. It is an Arabic cultural hub with its restaurant complex stretching over 33, 37, 39 and 42 Arab Street as well as 4, 6 and 8 Haji Lane.
The Mez’ze ($15), a Middle East tradition to start a meal with an assortment of starters and dips, was really nice. It came with flat bread and seven different dips like hummus, chick peas, and olives. It’s quite a heavy starter and ideal to share between three or four people.
We also had the Foul with Harissa & Hummus ($9), a combination of three homemade dishes: Foul and Falafel, Foul with Hummus, and Foul Mesdammes. Falafel is a fried patty of spiced fava beans or chickpeas. Foul mesdammes is the national breakfast dish of Egypt and consists of slow-cooked fava beans that have been partially or completely mashed. Foul mesdammes is served with plenty of olive oil and usually eaten with arabic bread.
The Fish Kebab ($13), skewered seasoned grilled fish, was so-so. I found it a little dry and the natural flavour of the fish was covered by the spices. The marinate was quite tasty though, giving the fish a redish tint. The dish came with rice and fresh salad on the side.
The Muhamaz ($12), a traditional Arabic stir-fried lamb was served with safron rice and delicious. Flavourful and nicely seasoned, and the smell of lamb was not overpowering. The meat was surprisingly juicy and tender.
Café Le Caire International offers some of the widest range of exotic Arab teas, coffee and other beverages. We ordered a pot of Samovar Tea ($6) and found it quite special. It tates similar to chinese tea and is very strong, so for those who don’t do well with tea, best to stay away from this. Otherwise a nice complement to the meal. Photo of Samovar Tea is taken from their menu but is not served this way – Tea comes in a pot instead :)
Service was good but the food took awhile to come. My ratings – Food: 7/10. Service: 7/10. Ambience: 7/10. Value for money: 7/10. More info about the restaurant @ www.cafelecaire.com.