|Opening hours:||Noon - midnight|
|Price range:||Expensive (LE150 to LE250)|
You'd be forgiven if you walked past Au Petit Bistro without giving it a second thought. The small and unremarkable entrance gives no indication of the culinary treats that can be found inside.
Seating roughly 40 diners, first impressions are of a restaurant where attention to details are paramount. It is a shame that most restaurants in Cairo don't put as much effort in the small details of their establishments and, as a result, Au Petit Bistro is intimidatingly flawless; whiter than white tablecloths, highly polished glasses and cutlery and faultlessly laid tables. And this quest for perfection can be found in every aspect of the restaurant; from the classically attired waiters, their impeccable service, even the volume of the in-house (French) music...everything has been planned to the finest detail. And all this translates into a dining experience that makes all others here in Cairo fade into insignificance.
Thankfully (and unsurprisingly), the food is just as well thought out and executed. The menu changes every three months to match the season and the menu, although small (literally a few pages), has obviously been written by someone who knows food... French, 5-star plus, food.
Before you even have the chance to order, you are presented with a small dish of garlicky crisp breads with a divinely subtle green olive "tapenade". Freshly made, cushy white bread is served throughout the meal, with small servings of butter that are chilled in a decorative bowl of ice.
To start, I had the thin pancake filled with mushrooms and chicken breast strips in fresh cream while my companion had the filo pastry goats cheese parcels. It is without exaggeration that I say that my dish was so superbly made that I could taste every single ingredient that was used; highlighting the chef's obvious talent. The goat's cheese parcels were also delicious, a light and flavourful start to the meal.
For main, I chose the chicken legs stuffed with mushrooms in light gravy with hazelnut potatoes: a truly 'earthy' dish that defies description. My companion had the grilled jumbo shrimps tails in 'Raito' sauce with roasted potatoes flavoured with thyme. All I can say is that everything was perfect and my companion (who is well versed in French cuisine) said that you couldn't have gotten better in France.
For dessert, we had the thin apple tart with cinnamon and caramel ice cream and the exotic-sounding coffee ice cream with espresso, Kahlua liquor and cream. The coffee ice cream dish was an intensely flavourful experience, but should only be tried by those who seriously enjoy their coffee. The apple tart was delightfully light and a lovely ending to a wonderfully sublime meal.
Everything served (with the exception of the ice cream) is made on the premises; even the whipped cream is made by hand, and you can certainly taste the difference.
All in all, a near-perfect dining experience that puts all others to shame. A little on the expensive side, you leave knowing that every penny was well spent