Living in Heliopolis is considered to be, by my friends, some sort of punishment for a previous life of sin. Far from downtown, far from my office, and far from them all, I struggle to find outings and good dining venues on my side of town. But no more, I think I’ve found something close to home so sinfully delightful.
Chantilly restaurant in Korba, Heliopolis had recently undergone renovations – even though the restaurant’s interiors still seem outdated. Nothing from the actual space, display cases and interiors seems to have changed, and it seems the outdoor seating area was the focus of renovations. Clean white-washed walls and powerful fans have turned the alleyway into a veritable beer garden.
Old kitsch posters of various foods and beverages still hang indoors, and the restaurant still manages to give off that Swiss restaurant feel which was so popular in the 80s and 90s.
Although there’s an extensive menu of main dishes and desserts that incorporates Swiss dishes (in addition to the ubiquitous escalope pane and other Egyptian favorites), two options stand out: Chantilly’s chocolate fondue and cheese fondue deserve two separate visits to indulge in.
It was my younger cousin that suggested we try the chocolate fondue. Per person, the cost is a surprising LE28, great value for money considering the generous portion of both chocolate and dip provided.
Bananas, sponge cake bites, butter cookies, grapes, pineapple pieces and cantaloupes are served with the dip. The items change according to season and, well, luck. Meringue and seasonal fruits are sometimes served.
The chocolate was plentiful, and a table’s various orders are collectively served in one communal bowl. The quality of the chocolate is very good, rather than using cheap chocolate and trying to mask that, and the mixture is just the right sweetness and darkness; suitable for people with various chocolate sensibilities.
The cheese fondue is just as fun, served authentically with beautifully toasted croutons. A single portion for LE 145 consists of 320 grams of cheese (in addition to all the add-ons, as our waiter explained) was perfect for sharing with two, if not three. With ground fresh pepper, the cheese is oozing and one swirls their long fork into that beautiful mixture of cheese.
But beware, white wine is traditionally incorporated into cheese fondue, and although other establishments in Cairo ask whether patrons would like the wine base, we were not asked. Although the taste is subtle, people who want to avoid consuming wine ask their waiter if it’s possible to exclude it from the dish.
Perfect for summer or winter, eaten indoors or outdoors, fondue at Chantilly is a surprising discovery for me. And thankfully, I now have something do on my side of town.
Chantilly11 Baghdad St.,Korba, HeliopolisTel: 2415 5620