Tucked inside Downtown Cairo’s Hilton Hotel is Maharaja, a restaurant offering everything Indian. The restaurant’s staff is very welcoming, and the Indian music and artwork throughout the place makes for a very genuine experience.
Before and after a meal, guests are given a steaming hot fragranced towel to wash their hands. Assistant head waiter Sayed Bakry explains that during the summer the towels are put in the freezer instead. Bakry says that the majority of the restaurant’s clients are British or Russian.
Given that spicy Indian heats up the body, it is only natural that natives of cold places would prefer it. However, the restaurant can accommodate all preferences, whether greatly spicy or mild. Bakry also explains that the four Indian chefs responsible for the food in Maharaja can whip up any dish requested, even if it is not on the menu.
For starters, one can enjoy the sesame-encrusted shrimp, which offers a different take on shrimp tempura. Bakry says that they are the only restaurant offering this in town. There is also a collection of vegetable samosas, which are mainly pressed vegetables coated in dough and deep fried.
The samosas are tasty, especially if tried with the fresh mint chutney and the pickled lemons. The Indian pickled lemons resemble the Egyptian ones, but they pack more of a kick. A collection of sauces is served with the starters, including mango chutney and a tamarind sauce, which is very sweet.
The Maharaja restaurant imports its own spices and condiments, mainly to ensure that their spices are of a high quality and because some condiments aren’t available in Egypt.
One of the delightful twists is that they bake their naan bread right in front of the customer. This ensures that the bread is soft and fluffy when it is served. Bakry explains that naan bread should always be served fresh from the oven, and never frozen or kept overnight. The effort shows in the bread’s delicious taste and texture.
For main dishes, the vegetable rice laced in turmeric is a must-try. Bakry also recommends their tikka chicken, which he says is unmatched by any other restaurant. There are many vegetarian options as well, like the pea and mushroom curry, along with others. Their shrimp curry is a safe bet for those less adventurous as it is usually served mild.
Their menu is varied and plentiful, and you’ll need to visit more than once to try everything. Luckily we guarantee you’ll want to return.