A taste of Japan

Sarah El Sirgany
5 Min Read

CAIRO: The first time you enter Shogun, the eccentric fish tank at the center will likely draw most of your attention. But gradually the teppenyaki corners and the Asian-style decorations will pull you in. Sit for a minute and the sound of hand clapping (as people applaud the almost-acrobatic moves of their cooks), combined with the sight of roving waiters, or rather their platters, will whet your appetite in anticipation.

Shogun, the Japanese restaurant situated on the ground floor of the InterContinental CityStars Hotel, offers a wholesome assortment of sushi and teppanyaki.These two basic types of Japanese food encompass two opposites: raw fish and grilled foods.

Some of my companions were somewhat worried about trying sushi for the first time, but when a platter of various sushi pieces (fish, salmon, prawn and crab) reached the table, they soon changed their minds.

The colorful rolls of seafood and rice looked too appealing to pass up, even for a person originally hesitant to try raw fish. Served with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and soy sauce, Shogun’s sushi could turn a fast food junky into a Japanese cuisine fan.

The biggest serving of 14 pieces costs LE 85 sans taxes, and smaller platters are available. Guests can also choose sushi by the piece.

A sushi corner caters especially for those who come just for this delicacy. But the restaurant’s seating area is mainly divided into regular-sized tables and teppanyaki corners surrounded by an average of eight high-table seats (sometimes the floor beneath the chairs is a bit slippery, so be careful). In fact, these teppanyaki corners are the restaurant’s main attraction, giving it a special ethnic flavor.

In each corner, a U-shaped table surrounds an iron pan, on which an especially trained chef cooks the selected dishes – teppan means iron pan and yaki means cooking. He doesn’t,however,just cook – the chef throws around his knives and other cooking utilities as he chops the food and mixes the ingredients, providing an enjoyable show. On the first visit, the show might seem a bit dangerous, but by the second time around it becomes pure live entertainment.

The show in no way detracts from the chef’s gastronomic skills. The teppanyaki he serves are as delicious as they look. Whether the main attraction of the dish is chicken, beef or any of the seafood selection (including eel) it will suit all tastes; the empty plates left at the end of our meal were proof of that. Teppanyaki tastes like the usual grills, but with the addition of a special, not-so-strong flavor.Guests can ask the chef to adjust the portions of garlic, salt, pepper and other ingredients to accommodate their preferences.

Rice and stir-fried veggies and zucchini accompany each platter – upon request the steamed rice was exchanged for plain noodles in one of our orders.

Like the sushi, teppanyaki can be ordered by type (for example, either chicken or fish). But guests can also order special platters combining other menu entries in smaller portions. The chicken teppanyaki costs LE 55,while the seafood combination costs LE 130. However, soup, salad and fruit accompany these special orders.

Sushi and teppanyaki are not the only selections available on Shogun’s long,detailed menu; there are different salads, soups and noodles, among other offerings.The dessert menu is not as varied, but orders can be brought in from other restaurants in the hotel. The main highlight on this limited menu is the green tea ice cream (LE 20); even those who don’t usually drink green tea couldn’t keep their spoons out of it!

The freshness and unusual flavor of the ice cream ended our meal on a refreshing note.We paid LE 670 for five people.The excellent service, combined with the savory food, made time fly.We looked around to find the empty place we entered at 7:30 p.m. now a buzzing restaurant with no vacant table at 11 p.m. Even though it was a Thursday night, reservations weren’t required.

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