Exploring Le Bistro at Seasons New Menu
When you hear that your favourite haunt has plans to introduce a new menu you teeter between excited anticipation and alarm. Will our much-loved regular dishes vanish… forever? Do we have to bid farewell to the drool-worthy fondant au chocolat?
We set our fears to rest when we visited to enjoy a special sneak preview of some of the new items guests can indulge in as fall sets in. And what a preview! It gave new meaning to the phrase ‘tasting menu’.
Having ensured that the memorable soupe a l’oignon au fromage, along with other specialties, is still firmly on the menu, we prepared our taste buds for the adventure ahead.
Food at Le Bistro has always exceeded our expectations, so why the new additions we wondered? General Manager of Seasons Country Club, Pascal Moron explains, “We have many regular guests and club members who enjoy our existing dishes, but who are often eager to try something different and innovative as well. We have developed some exciting dishes, with concepts ranging from South East Asian to Mediterranean, along with a burger to put all others in the shade. Our dishes are traditional and authentic, but with a definite gourmet twist, and we are careful to make good use of fresh seasonal produce.”
The culinary team at Le Bistro is strong. Seasons’ owner Tarek Hegazy is a Cordon Bleu chef, and both he and Moron have completed full training at the Egyptian Chef Association’s Culinary Arts Training Program. Moron points out that all chefs complete their training at the same institution before entering the kitchen; they send three chefs each year to ensure that every member of their kitchen and pantry has a solid grounding in all facets of their job, from hygiene, to food preparation, nutrition and presentation. Certainly the menu we had that evening from award-winning Chef Emad Metwally and Chef Wael impressed us in every detail.
The first dish to arrive was red tuna, lightly seared, then crusted with sesame and black baraka seeds. Served on a bed of fresh baby spinach, cherry tomato and butter beans, all lightly coated with a peanut and coconut dressing, it was fresh and full of flavor.
This was followed by Greek feta cheese, lightly crumbed and deep fried saganaki style. The slight salty sharpness of the feta was offset by the accompanying thyme-infused honey dressing, and was a new and memorable taste sensation.
One of Seasons’ signature dishes, the Popcorn Shrimp with Sweet and Sour Glaze came next. It was every bit as good as we remembered, and is highly recommended. Keeping with the South East Asian seafood theme we were then presented with a stunning platter of moules, served in the shell in a piquant and aromatic red curry sauce, coconut, spring onion, ginger, lemongrass and finely sliced mushroom. With a tamarind confit on the side it was spectacular, with layers of flavor working through gradually, without overwhelming each other. Special attention is paid to seasoning, with spices and herbs prepared by the team, even down to their own smoked paprika.
The mood then changed with the arrival of a bubbling cheese fondue. Rich with Emmental, Gruyere and Tomme de Savoie cheese, it wrapped itself lovingly around every morsel of crusty home-baked bread that we dunked into it. Calories? Who cares!
Staying close to the same region, we delved into a robust serving of spaghetti nero, a pasta blackened by squid ink. Tender curls of octopus, fresh pesto and cherry tomato made it a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Served on top of a round of lightly toasted whole-wheat bread that had been drizzled with pure virgin olive oil we felt transported to some small village on the Italian coast.
Burgers are an all-time favorite with kids of all ages, and Seasons turns out a burger to die for. Home-baked brioche bun halves sit side-by-side, one garnished with lettuce and tomato, with delicate slices of gherkin, and the other bearing a generous patty of freshly ground prime lean beef. In order to ensure absolute freshness this is ground and prepared in front of the guest. The meat patty is light and moist, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, resting on a bed of tangy chutney, then topped with an oozing layer of melting Emmental cheese. Heaven on a plate. The side of fries was cooked just right, and the addition of truffle oil gave them the ‘wow’ factor.
Room for dessert? When three decadently rich concoctions landed temptingly in front of us no amount of willpower could hold us back. Nutella Cheesecake was everything that it promised. No Nutella fan should pass this up, and the addition of walnuts gave it added interest. But ask for extra forks, it should be shared.
We were taken back to childhood treats with the Cookie Soufflé, a light fluffy and decadently gooey treat topped with chocolate sauce and ice-cream. Need we say more?
The Pomme Tarte Tatin was a work of art, light pastry, warm apple perfectly baked with its caramel glaze, then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Classic perfection, and a lovely way to round off a memorable feast.
The best news is that anyone popping along to Seasons for Friday brunch will have the opportunity to indulge to the max on dishes like these. The menu is showcased through a wide range of old favorites and new items, along with several types of fresh home-made pasta and a choice of sauces.
No wonder, we mused, that Seasons is so in demand for its wonderfully organized weddings, and catering services. With such an idyllic setting, and gastronomy like this, it would be hard to beat.