Plato, in his “Symposium,” wrote that the reason human beings spend their entire lives searching for a soul mate is because once upon a time, men and women were together whole. Zeus, fearing their power, split them forever apart, leaving us to ply for centuries with gym memberships, Facebook profiles and Trey Songz albums.
At the age of five, I discovered that girls were soft and smelled nice. Twenty-one years later, I can offer two incontrovertible conclusions: girls are soft and smell nice.
Despite my Herculean efforts, I am hardly an authority on the subject, if such a figure even exists. I can, however, with all conviction tell you that using a short rib beef patty when making burgers at home could quite possibly change your life with the eternal efficacy of the god of sky and thunder. Because, as the sudden disappearance of my abs in 1994 can no doubt reveal, when it comes to my other lifelong pursuit, I am something of an aesthete.
Finding a good burger in Cairo has long been a largely unfruitful endeavor. Despite the obviously hyperbolic nature of this article, Lucille’s in Maadi has easily been the city’s gloriously fat standard, especially in the eyes and bellies of folks like me who subscribe to the Texan school of thought and prefer their burgers to appear incapable of digestion.
When the Fairmont Nile City’s flagship restaurant, Napa Grill, debuted their new signature Burger Promotion at the end of June, the naturally skeptical Egyptian in me struggled to temper my expectations. Two months later, I am thoroughly impressed. Glutton, meet Gourmand. You should get to know each other. Not even the gods fight necessity.
It is at the Napa Grill where chef Matthew Gilbert has devised such gluttony goodness creating a set menu of four burgers-the Sonoma, Backyard, Napa and Caprese burgers-which can be grazed upon. Gilbert also devises a novel burger with unique ingredients each week. Last week’s Mushroom and Swiss included sautéed oyster mushrooms, roasted garlic, gruyere cheese and a truffle-thyme aioli. The Royal George burger debuted in July including foie gras, truffle aioli and fresh figs on a Kaiser roll. Need one say more?
In the pursuit of (gourmet) science, I’ve sampled the following:
Sonoma Burger: Mixed olive tapenade, basil, camembert cheese and dried tomato aioli.
A rustic olive tapenade with roasted peppers and a generous helping of melted camembert form an immodestly salty partnership over the beef patty, cut into splendidly by the familiar sweetness of caramelized onions. 9/10
Backyard Burger: Grilled onion rings, dill pickles, sharp cheddar and tangy BBQ sauce.
Not much of a departure from the restaurant’s signature burger (the Napa Burger), which isn’t really a bad thing. The dill pickles were great, but overwhelm the rest of the ingredients. The generously applied BBQ sauce could benefit from more smoke and thicker density. Grilled onion rings are never wrong, and the aged cheddar was properly melted over another perfectly cooked patty. 7.3/10
Caprese Burger: Heirloom tomatoes, torn basil, fresh mozzarella and truffle oil.
Caprese salads are simple and safe: you’d probably never drive a mile to eat one, but when seated at a restaurant whose pantry you respect, you’ll happily order one without so much as an afterthought. A caprese burger, then, is a worthy equivalent, especially when the mozzarella in question is of the bufala variety, my appetite for which could make Silvio Berlusconi blush. The truffle oil was a tidy compliment, but overall the burger was a tad dry, in need perhaps of a herb sauce of some kind. Then again, I tend to favor burgers that drip just enough condiments back onto my plate to mortify my date, so maybe it’s just me. 7.5/10
Special: Gascony Burger: Duck confit, cherries, caramelized onions and wilted spinach.
No need for a lyrical waxing this week; simply put, this offering is ridiculous. Read those ingredients again. That’s my review. 9.2/10
They also exclusively deliver to those whose offices are in the Nile City Towers. Some people just have all the luck.
The four burgers on the set menu come with French fries and a green salad (LE 40) and the weekly burgers vary in price.
Fairmont Nile City
Tel: 2461 9633