By Zainab AbdulAziz
He hit the jackpot with Frank & Co, so owner Frank teamed up with Enrica D’Errico to launch an authentic Italian restaurant with a heavy Sicilian influence. Most of the recipes are from D’Errico’s childhood kitchen, paired with the homey and relaxed atmosphere of a stylish, modern neighborhood eatery. You’ll find simple, health conscious, homemade food with none of the heavy side effects that usually result from an Italian meal in Cairo. Probably because there is virtually no butter or cream used in the dishes! Imagine that?
Bruschetta, Parmigiana di melanzane (baked eggplant with tomato and parmesan), Carpaccio di branzino (seabass carpaccio), Arancini al ragu (risotto balls with ragout), Insalata di zucchini (zucchini and parmesan salad), Insalata di rapa rossa (beetroot salad), Spaghetti al pesto Trapanese (tomato pesto), Ravioli di magro (spinach and ricotta), Tagliatelle al ragu, Seppie alla griglia con pure di piselli (grilled calamari in anchovy-caper oil), Pollo alla cacciatora (roasted chicken in a stew), and Cannoli Siciliani.
If you’re a drinker, the Aperitivo menu is highly recommended to prime your belly for the meal ahead and Estro has several delicious options. We sampled the Peach Spritz and the Hugo, the servings are generous.
We kicked off the meal with a sampling of Estro’s wonderful antipasti: Parmigiana di melanzane, Bruschetta al pomodoro, the Caponata alla Siciliana, and the Arancini al ragu.
The baked eggplant parmigiana was delightful and enough to split three ways, perfectly flavored melt in your mouth goodness with chunky rustic bread. We couldn’t get enough of the garlic-laden tomato bruschetta mix, served in a bowl so the bread doesn’t get soggy. The caponata is divine, a stew comprising of roasted peppers, green olives, pine nuts, eggplant, and onion. Paired with chunky bread, you’re advised not to eat alone or you’ll fill up fast. The risotto balls are not oily at all and delicious, but we were too blown away by the caponata to truly appreciate them. Finally, the zucchini salad offered a necessary balance of fresh and crunchy greens with zest and shards of parmesan.
Rolling onto the pasta course, we selected the Tagliatelle al ragu from the 12 choices available. The rich and flavorsome slow cooked sauce with hand-chopped beef fillet comes served on al dente thick noodles. Enjoying a proper ragu is a treat, but it can be quite filling, so we highly recommend splitting a portion before venturing onto the main course.
For the main courses, we went for the signature dishes: Pollo alla cacciatora and the Seppie alla griglia con pure di piselli. The roasted chicken stew was comprised of tender chunks of roasted chicken cooked in vegetables, tomatoes, and olives. This is a very hearty dish, perfect for chilly winter evenings, and with more than enough of stew to dunk your bread in. The grilled calamari is lightly cooked in anchovy and caper oil, and served with a delightful portion of puréed peas. The calamari was a tiny bit tough to the bite, but the flavor was very delicious and the peas were a perfect companion. We would probably go for a safer choice on future visits.
Other Menu Items that Appealed
Everything! We will slowly work our way through the entire menu over time. There is a panini menu available daily from 12 pm to 6 pm for those in need of a quick delicious lunch.
A full bar; aperitifs, cocktails, beer, wine. Coffee and soft beverages are also available.
Décor and Ambience
Chic, elegant interiors and mood lighting combine to make this the perfect place for date night. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available, with a terrace that overlooks the treetops of Maadi. A small bar offers sparse seating for those after a quick drink and appetizers. There are limited tabletops here, and the place is packed when we visited on a Wednesday, so reservations are highly recommended.
Clientele Mix: 30-somethings enjoying a date, and small groups of friends over 25 catching up over drinks. Definitely a more adult spot.
Price Range: Average and reasonable considering the quality of the meal.
Opening Hours: 12 pm – 12 am
Address: 11 Road 18 in the Royal Maadi Hotel, 9th Floor
Tel: 0106 643 1590
Facebook: Estro – A Sicilian Rooftop