Signature dishes: Hunkar Begendi: Braised beef tenderloin with char-grilled eggplant cream, beef brown jus. Kazu Tandir: Twelve-hour slow cooked lamb leg with wheat and vegetable keskek. Asme Yaproginda Levrek: grilled sea bass, white rice served with smoked tomato and lemon butter sauce.
Dishes sampled: Our meal began with beautifully presented tiny servings of watermelon and feta cheese spiked together, along with the restaurant’s own on-site freshly baked bread and a trio of flavoursome dips: cream cheese mousse with oregano oil, a spicy tomato paste with chopped pine nuts, and simple olive oil with balsamic vinegar. This was followed by a soup to die for, Yayla Corbasi, made with yoghurt and mint with rice, drizzled with red chilli oil.
Our selection of nine different mezze included mini pan-fried beef and rice kofta with smoked tomato sauce, and deep fried veal liver in parsley paste, as well as tomato salsa and Turkish hommus, eggplant with tiny chopped cucumber and tomato couscous, all arriving on a special serving dish allowing small, spoon-sized amounts so as not to spoil our appetites for the mains.
For these we sampled one of Osmanly’s signature dishes, the braised beef tenderloin, as well as a very traditional Istanbul Kebab: spicy lamb kofta served over crispy Turkish bread with tomato sauce. The eggplant cream under the beef tenderloin and was velvety and flavorful, and the dish was topped with Parmesan to give it that extra rich kick.
Amazing then that we still had room to sample a dessert: Dondurmali irmik helvasi, caramelized semolina with pine nuts and honey, with a surprise centre of vanilla ice-cream… Mmm!
Other menu options that appealed: Caucasian spring rolls with pastrami, cheese and spinach; a seafood extravaganza of oven baked sea bass, prawns, calamari, octopus, salmon, mushroom and potatoes in saffron sauce with mastic served with ginger pilaf. Turkish konafa, baked with unsalted cheese, clotted crème and pistachios.
Beverages: Full international wine list, fresh juices, ayran (fresh yogurt drink), soft drinks and hot beverages.
Décor: Modern oriental style in warm burnt orange and brown; sophisticated and comfortable.
Clientele: A mix of hotel guests and devoted regulars from Garden City and Zamalek.
Ambiance: Soft oriental music, excellent service that includes pre-meal hand-washing from a brass jug in jasmine scented water. The place has a soothing, relaxed vibe.
Top tip: Don’t miss the soup! See the chef’s recipe below.
Price range: Moderate
Address: Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City Cairo, Ahmed Ragheb Street 12 11519 Cairo Egypt.
Opening hours: 4pm to Midnight
Facebook page: Osmanly Restaurant
Yayla Corbasi Soup Recipe
A traditional soup of shepherds in the hills; made from yoghurt and dried mint.
6 Cups water
Chicken stock cube
1⁄2 Cup rice, washed and drained
2 Cups yoghurt
1⁄2 Cup milk
1 Egg yolk
1⁄4 Cup flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1. In a large pot boil the water, rice, salt and stock cube. Cook on medium high, until the rice is done.
2. Meanwhile in a bowl, mix yogurt, milk, egg yolk and flour. After the rice is cooked, take a few spoons of liquid from the pot and mix into the bowl. Then slowly pour your mixture into the pot while stirring very slowly. Cook for 10 more minutes on low heat.
3. Place the butter in a frying pan. When it begins spitting, sauté the mint lightly and pour into your soup.
4. Drizzle with a little chilli oil, and serve immediately.