In a follow up to last week’s column, I visited Trio twice this week to taste test their sustainable, farm-to-table dining philosophy. As you know, I am sympathetic to the concept, but you should also know that in this, as in all my comments and reviews, I pay for my own food out of my own pocket. I try to remain as objective as possible. I do not accept complimentary meals from any restaurant, nor do I do endorsements or advertising. I write what I feel.
The first night I went with friends—foodies and non-foodies alike. We started with the chicken wings in a brown sugar barbecue sauce, which worked well. Accompanied by a homemade ranch of crème fraiche, yogurt and dill, they disappeared quickly. The problem with depending upon local sources though, is that you can only get what is available on the market; so these were not the gigantic pumped up factory wings that you can find in big cities in the west, but the flavor was all there.
I loved as well the LA “street style” grilled corn on the cob with a garlic aioli, parmesan cheese and chili-lime. Here too, summer is over, so the restaurant is relying on frozen corn for the time being and the texture was not as crisp as I would have liked, a problem of supply, not cooking technique. Still, I’d get them again.
Our third starter was Vietnamese-style crab and shrimp, blended together and deep-fried on a sugar cane stalk. It came with a sweet chili sauce and a lemongrass, ginger and soy dipping sauce. Chef Hernandez knocked it out of the park with this one.
Since steaks are Trio’s best seller, we tried those. The filet mignons come with your choice of a side dish and one of seven different homemade steak sauces. We opted for the whole grain mustard sauce, which was heavy on the butter and salt and a little light on the mustard, but the steaks were grilled to perfection. Trio has a charcoal grill in their kitchen and I can see why this is the most popular item on the menu. Good value too at LE 84.95.
My uber-foodie friend, who knows much more about cooking than I do, wished that the fat on her rib eye had been rendered, meaning cooked over a low heat to separate it from the connective tissue, but the local-sourced meat was satisfying, and the side dish of braised endives met with her approval.
I loved the farfalle pasta with sundried tomatoes, spicy broccoli, pine nuts and a light lemon cream sauce. It tasted like a Mediterranean summer. Really lovely.
On my second night, I went specifically for the burgers since I had written about them last week. Amazing; for my money hands down the best in the city, and at LE 42.95 you can’t complain. The meat is ground fresh on the premises daily and blended with caramelized balsamic onion, roasted garlic and egg yolk. Perfection on a soft, buttery bun. Topped with homemade pickles, fresh tomatoes and lettuce, Hernandez’s aioli of sweet and sour dill with chilies, black pepper and pickle juice put this one over the top. A real California burger, nothing like it in Cairo.
Trio does not yet have an alcohol license, but they offer a wide variety of fresh juices, smoothies and cocktails including my favourite, a mintolinni, made of mint syrup, lemon juice and 7-up. They also have a creative and extensive breakfast menu as well as imaginative pizzas, including one with goat cheese and pecorino and another with Scottish smoked salmon plus a variety of wraps and sandwiches including the house favorite, the Triple “B,” consisting of grilled beef, smokey bbq sauce, pickled onion and creamy coleslaw, served on a toasted bun.
Trio still needs to work some of the kinks out of its service; the quality of the produce varies according to the season; and you cannot be in too much of a hurry because handcrafted slow food naturally takes a while to emerge from the kitchen, but that’s okay. They’ve only been open a couple of months and they’re getting there. All the ingredients are in place here for a standout Cairo dining experience. Give it a try, especially if you want to be good to your body and to the planet at the same time.