Finding high quality ingredients in Cairo to prepare delicious dinners at home is a hassle; it involves visiting several stores and you can never be sure that what you are looking for will be there this time around. Having a gourmet dinner in a stylish restaurant is a little easier, and there are several places in Cairo that serve high quality food, but both the shopping spree and the dining experience will set you back a significant amount of money. However, there is now an alternative that offers very high quality, for affordable prices and all in one place.
Favorito Gourmet Store and Restaurant recently opened in the Fifth Settlement and combines a store that features a variety of high quality food with a restaurant upstairs where a nice selection of dishes is served prepared with the ingredients that can be found in the shop. We sampled some of the food and took a tour of the store this week.
The crisp and simple black-and-white colour scheme of Favorito dominates the outdoor café in front of the entrance of the venue, creating an atmosphere of understated modern elegance. Inside the store the colours continue and clear but unobtrusive signage highlight the different sections; like pastry, bakery, dry section (pasta, oils, etc), imported cheese, cold cuts, fresh and frozen seafood, meat and poultry, imported meat, fruits and vegetables and dried fruits and nuts. Each section is stocked with a nice selection of products and the quality is excellent.
The restaurant is upstairs and decorated with the same taste, mainly white with grey and purple accents. We were served a variety of starters: a classic blue cheese salad, a smoked salmon and octopus carpaccio and a beef carpaccio. The salad was the classic combination very fresh red lettuce with a crumbled strong blue cheese and caramalised nuts and tasted great if you are a fan of blue cheese. The thinly sliced fish and beef got good reviews overall but the octopus carpaccio received high praise from the whole table.
Chicken, duck or salmon were on offer as main courses, and the duck cooked to a tenderness that made the meat fall of the bone and the salmon topped with a fresh vegetable mix were the favourites. All dishes were served with accompanying side dishes that complemented the meat or fish; the duck was served with cooked red cabbage and mashed potatoes, the chicken with a variety of sautéed vegetables and fried potatoes and the salmon with mashed potatoes and spinach.
The menu is cleverly designed to feature the freshness and high quality of the produce and the meats, poultry and fish and the seasoning used and manner of preparation helps to enhance the natural flavour of the ingredients.
Favorito Gourmet Store and Restaurant is a venture of Tarek El Gammal, Ahmed Auf and Ayman Auf. El Gammal is the founder and owner of NGS Egypt, a one-stop online shop for healthy food products and the Auf brothers are part of the Abu Auf family business, a leader in importing and distributing, as well as roasting dried fruits and canned foods.
“There is a growing demand for high-end products that are not easily available here,” El Gammal said. “And often what was available was very expensive. We want to provide good quality food for affordable prices.”
Favorito store and café are open every day from 8am to midnight and the restaurant opens at noon. The café menu is also available as takeaway and delivery and the store will also open soon as an online store with delivery all over Cairo.