Less than a month ago, Omar El Barazi saw his dream realised: not only was he the owner of a place that offers a taste of his passion for pastas, but also the main chef.
Zamalek has been dubbed Egypt's giant food court, so when another pasta venue just around the corner at the famous antique Bihler's building announced its opening, it wasn’t big news.
Nevertheless, the place -- which is notably small, comprising only four tables, of which each can seat not more than five persons -- is almost packed every day from the moment it opens its doors, after proving that it is indeed different.
Two main things encounter you when you pass through the bright blue entrance door:
First, the use of colours is really pleasant. Comfy wooden tables and chairs are surrounded by walls adorned by old pictures of Egypt and logs of chopped wood, while authentic mirrors of various sizes attached to the ceiling drew our eyes upwards immediately.
Secondly, you are instantaneously hit by a vivid sensation of freshness that fills the small place with its mouth watering aroma.
"Freshness is the key element of this place, we pay extra attention to all elements, preparing everything ourselves from scratch, even if this means for the customers a bit more to wait," El Barazi tells Ahram Online, while busily preparing food from the open kitchen overlooking the place.
Indeed we had to wait for more than a bit. Steaming mushroom soup was served within 15 minutes, followed 10 minutes later by O's salad, a fresh compile of arugula, shrimps, mushroom and parmesan served with balsamic dressing.
For the main plates to be served we had to wait for almost an hour. The menu comprised of plates that held titles that bring a burst of nostalgia to a bygone multifaceted cosmopolitan era in Egypt.
Rosemary's dish was a true infusion of the herb that proved to be a savory ingredient with chicken and mushroom pasta, but the optimum delicacy was that of La vie en Rose, with shrimps and pasta immersed in an aromatic pinkish sauce of basil and oregano tomato cream.
Fresh old fashioned stove-top espresso made for a pleasant finish to the meal, with a taste of the signature spicy chocolate fudge dessert.
To enjoy a meal at O's, reservation is a must, and you also need the time and the stomach, for the portions are more than sizable. Only then you can experience a true seal of freshness in the warm and cozy diner dubbed by its owner as “not a restaurant, but rather a kitchen with four tables."