After spending over a week eating aromatic Arabic food on the daily while road-tripping through Jordan I was pleased at the proposition of taking a short pause. I hit the tarmac in Cairo on Friday at noon and spent my entire afternoon at the city’s fancy fortress, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. My stomach grumbled while I swooned at the spa. Tip toeing quickly back to my room to freshen up before prancing into the golden glow of Bella.
20 million people call Cairo home, an ancient urbanism that offers a waft of mystique to those who wander her streets. If you press her closely you’ll discover nooks and crannies that are decidedly cosmopolitan. An army of luxury hotels tower over the River Nile offering the local who’s-who and visiting Pharaoh-philes a choir of culinary possibilities.
I marched across polished marble floors while balancing a glass of locally produced chardonnay by Jardin de Nil in the palm of my hand. I slowly sipped while touring through Bella’s wine cellar, an intimate space kept cozy with contemporary art that hangs on carved wood panelled walls. There are over 2,500 bottles of wine here, a collection that spans more than 300 labels from Egypt’s fertile Nile Delta to the French and Italian champs we’ve learned to know and love so dearly.
My heart skipped a beat as I read through a menu splashed with cream and topped with cheese. Perched over the dinning room on a comfy bench, I watched romantic couples holding hands while enjoying an unobstructed view of the Nile below. I found myself transfixed on the open kitchen, peering past a fabulous floral arrangement as flames flew in the distance. Bella is Cairo’s classiest Italian restaurant, with a kitchen brigade crafting a parade of plates inspired by the flavours of Tuscany. If you’re pining for creamy mozzarella, umami-forward porcini broth and prawn adorned risotto you’ll find a happy place here.
1) Chardonnay/Vermentino | jardin de nil, nile delta, egypt
2) Caprese | buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, presto bread
3) Porcini Mushroom Soup | cream, truffle oil, garlic bread
4) Prawn Risotto | zucchini, roasted bell pepper, citrus olive oil
5) Potato Gnocchi | veal confit, cream