Eat & Barrel
This place has a key ingredient that Gourmet Burger and Burger Factory don’t offer, and that’s beer with your burger. It’s also got an extremely spacious and comfortable dining space that allows you to devour their enormous patties at a leisurely pace. It’s not cheap, and the quality of the food definitely doesn’t reflect the price, but you pay for a big, comfortable venue, great views, dishes in generous portions, and a long list of drinks.
Eat & Barrel occupies the entire top deck of the Sunset Boat on the Corniche in Giza. It was an unusually hot winter day in February when we ventured there, so we were thrilled to discover that the restaurant has great views over the Nile, a breeze, light pouring in through the windows and retractable roof.
The décor is suspiciously similar to the swanky Lemon Tree & Co. in Zamalek, with white sofa seating, colourful timber furniture, hanging plants, glass bottles, wooden barrels and other bohemian trinkets. But it doesn’t have a strict door policy or dress code like Lemon Tree & Co. and it’s much bigger.
In fact, the place is so enormous it felt as though we had it all to ourselves, despite there being a rowdy group chanting “Happy Birthday” and taking selfies, as well as some smaller groups.
The menu is divided into soups, appetisers, salads, burgers, pasta, chicken, seafood, desserts, and a long list of fresh juices and alcoholic drinks.
Most of us decided to start with the Goats Cheese Salad (69LE) and the Caprese (48LE). The goats cheese was the only good part about that salad, but boy, it was good. Four big, round chunks of cheese were fried and placed on a large bed of salad leaves with a scattering of cherry tomatoes. The salad was smothered in a thick balsamic dressing, but the excess was easy enough to scrape off. The presentation of the Caprese was odd – instead of the traditional layout, the tomato, cheese and basil were stacked in thick, oily slices. But hey, the three ingredients still worked just as well together. The Panache Salad (79LE) is uninspiring and way too expensive for a bunch of chopped up vegetables on a bed of lettuce. But this was made up for with the delicious appetisers – the deep fried Macaroni and Cheese balls (42LE), the cheesy Quesadilla (47LE) and fried Calamari (51). In summary, Eat & Barrel haven’t mastered the fresh items yet, and seem to balance this with cheesy dishes.
Considering the hype about their burgers, it was surprising to see only four kinds on offer, and none of these are vegetarian. The Philly Burger (60LE) is a cheese lover’s dream with four kinds of cheeses. The Crunchy Melt Burger (65LE) lives up to its name with crunchy onion rings, mozzarella sticks and bacon. The Mushroom Cheese Burger (55LE) is simply that - mushrooms and cheese. The Cowboy Burger (50LE) is absent of a range-style dressing but has BBQ honey sauce and, again, lots of cheese. All the burgers come in huge portions, but could do with a few more ingredients, less cheese and less bread.
The Mixed Seafood platter (145LE) was really fresh and big enough for two people as a main dish. It included grilled prawns, sautéed calamari, white fish and flavoured rice. The basic pasta dishes are also fresh nicely done (44-66LE).
They serve the usual Egyptian beer (39LE), wine (45-55LE) as well as a decent list of cocktails, including Sangria (80-250LE for its jugs)! We had mojitos with fresh mint (80LE).
With the exception of our unsightly group of friends, the clientele at Eat & Barrel seemed to be pretty trendy. The restaurant’s dishes are expensive, but it’s hoping to attract large numbers with its spacious layout and occasional live music events.
The staff were friendly, and we had no issues with our orders or the time between meals, which was great considering there were at least 12 of us.