When the Kempinski Nile Hotel threw a party to celebrate the opening of their tenth floor bar-restaurant-cigar lounge concept, Cairo’s socialites were thrilled. Finally, a venue that could be enjoyed pre-dinner, during dinner and post dinner. No need to hop into your car three times during the evening to enjoy a long night out with friends.
The venue, aptly named Floor 10, offers all those things in a setting that is both rich and understated with a great view of the Nile; and indoors, a collection of carefully selected contemporary Egyptian artwork — the fine touches of a curator must have been on hand.
A quiet Sunday evening out with a friend was in order to catch up without noise or the chance of bumping into too many people. So we started, with a lychee bellini in the jazz bar and some great jazz playing. Live music starts later on in the evening but for us, the mood was warm enough. There were others there as well, a couple in one corner on a love seat and friends around one sofa seat. We nabbed the big central sofa in the center of the room for an hour and then headed across the floor to dinner.
The restaurant has purple ambiance light and a few carefully selected sculptures in the large dining room. Funnily enough, only about eight tables, spaced out, are in the restaurant and several dates were underway. It was, of course, simply a matter of food for us right now.
The menu has multiple interesting offerings for first and second courses, and is designed to offer diners five full courses — but of course, pick and choose as you will. I selected a lentil and foie gras soup (LE 80) which was so rich and creamy I couldn’t finish what was a very generous serving. The sweetness of foie gras flavored the soup and the lentils were but a subtle mention, cream played a starring role in the course.
My friend enjoyed the bouillabaisse “Floor 10” signature (LE 80) which was made of lobster, saffron, tomato, fennel, fresh herb and coral butter. He enjoyed the tender lobster and lapped up the broth before I had a chance to dip my spoon in and try for myself. Vegetables cooked al dente came with the bouillabaisse which he found didn’t add to the dish but praised the broth throughout, much to my irritation.
I was tempted to childishly refuse him a sample of my main course: a roasted veal loin that was flavored with dates, tomato jam, Persian flavored risotto and Xeres sauce (LE 170), which I asked to be cooked to whatever Chef would like to best present it. It came to me perfectly medium-rare on the more medium end of the spectrum, so moist and soft I chewed my way through each delectable chunk with a pleased murmur. The risotto was cooked al dente, unusual yet not to my liking but the tomato jam and date which I dipped each bite into was so sweet in a way. Perfect for some of the best veal I’ve ever had.
Spiced duck breast, confit duck leg, green onion and duck jus was my friend’s selection (LE 150). It came wrapped in pastry though it didn’t state that on the menu and too salty for my fellow diner’s taste.
Moving onto our final course, dessert, I opted for a meringue (LE 45) which topped assorted flavors of sorbet (made fresh in house of course) raspberry, chocolate and mango. The meringue was a cigar roll placed delicately on top. A great palate cleanser for a meal that was filled with new flavors and tastes. A cheese platter was his last course with artisanal cheese and fig bread (LE 75), ending the dinner on a good note for us both.
The wine selection at Floor 10 is interesting, and half bottles are available for those who wish to separately pair an appropriate wine with their meal. The hotel has an impressive roster of wines, and highlights include Italian, French, Lebanese, Chilean and Turkish wines. The waiters (and rarely do I see this happening in Cairo) can knowledgably help guests select a wine explaining differences and making solid recommendations.
All prices have an additional service charge and tax charge.
Kempinski Nile Hotel
12 Ahmed Ragheb St.,
Tel: (02) 2798 0000
Floor 10 is a great option for romantic dinners.