Okashi at the Hyatt Regency

In May 2008, Egypt Today reviewed Okashi, and declared that it was Cairo’s best sushi restaurant. Last summer, a close friend (who also happened to be averse to eating meat; but quivered at the thought of eating sushi) and I decided to try it out. So, with fat wallets and empty stomachs, we made our reservations for a late afternoon meal bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun overlooking the Nile. Good conversation was guaranteed, and, so we hoped, was the food.

The problem with Okashi is that you don’t really feel like you’re sitting at a hotel restaurant – it occupies a small corner of the spacious lobby. The lobby is magnificent, don’t get me wrong; but it didn’t have that special “dining out” feeling, since I couldn’t help but feel a bit distracted by the people passing by my table on their way to another part of the lobby. Eventually, we were able to relegate the hustle and bustle of a major Cairo hotel lobby to the background, and let the sun warm the conversation.

The Maître came to take our orders after giving us enough time to peruse the menu adequately. He smiled with a nod as we ordered a selection of Miso Soup, Shrimp and vegetable tempura and a selection of sushi, sashimi and maki rolls. The Miso soup was decent, as was the tempura. What was not decent; was the amount of time we had to wait for the starters – a full 30 minutes passed before we got the starters; and a further 30 minutes between starters and the sushi – which was returned almost immediately. The salmon and tuna tasted “off”, and the octopus had the texture of a fat rubber band.  After much anticipation and then being let down so badly, we ordered the check and hoped that the money we were shelling out was sufficient enough to wipe the memory of that experience from our minds.

It hasn’t.

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About Wesam E Masoud
Chef Patron of @chefsmarketmasr, Host of @CBCSofra's #matbakh101. I have one degree in Medicine & 3rd degree burns from cooking.

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