A couple of nights go I was invited by the lovely Ms. Zeina through a very spontaneous phone call to go and try her new restaurant: Ginger. She had mentioned that it offers Nikkei cuisine, which I have not heard of since the old Izakaya ( in Arkan) and Keji (which was awful). I was a tiny bit skeptical at first and thought that it would just be another series of sashimi dishes drowned in Leche de Tigre. I could not have been more wrong!
I was greeted at the door by the very professional Mr. Tarek (Zeina’s brother and co-owner), who escorted me to Ms. Zeina’s table. I scanned the QR code to access the menu and at that point I was already blown away by the creative approach towards conceptualizing the dishes. Yes, there was some Leche de Tigre here and there but it was not the only twist that Ginger had to offer. The sushi selection was also pretty original compared to what I am used to.
First, the Miso Soup; which is an important item for me to test the chef’s skills. It was pretty good and made me look forward to the rest of the meal. The glass noodle salad was also quite exceptional. The noodles were perfectly cooked and the salad was full of lively colors from the micro-greens with a rich peanut butter dressing, topped with some large shrimp, too. Yum!
Moving on to a jaw dropping moment of the Aji Amarillo, which was a sashimi-based sea bass dish with a very vibrant Aji Amarillo sauce and grated sweet potato shreds that captured the essence of the sun on a plate. Fresh, bright and firey! Beautiful for the eye and absolutely explosive in the mouth.
Then came a little show of pyrotechnics: the Fuego Seafood Shell. This was a diced selection of fancy seafood in herbed butter, served in see shells. The seafood was cooked beautifully and the delicate, buttery flavor was through the roof.
If I were to pick a highlight of the evening, it would not be such an easy task but I would like to give it to the glazed short rib. This baby is slow-cooked overnight and finished in a very special teriyaki glaze that had me licking all of the cutlery that it came in contact with. Not only was the rib good, but it was served with a savory miso mashed potato to offset the sweetness of the glaze. *Applause*
The dessert was partially different from the standard molten chocolate cake with an ice-cream scoop on top.. Okay the Pizookie (pizza cookie) was almost that, but it had an extra dimension of Ferrero Rocher crunch. My personal taste buds were definitely leaning more towards the Crinkle Biscoff Tots, which were basically vanilla cream cheese truffles rolled in crushed Lotus Biscoff biscuit. Right up the alley of MY favorite dessert flavors! 😉
I have not been this impressed with a restaurant in Egypt for a while now. Let’s hope that Ginger will maintain the high bar it has set for itself and not be swayed by the feedback of the ignorant Egyptian customer. I can’t wait to go again and try more creative dishes by Chef Hajime. Big thanks to Zeina and Tarek for the warm hospitality and their friendly, professional staff.