Jimmy's at the Longchamps
A Restaurant Review: No Bias Here
by Jimmy Dunn
I have worked in a marketing capacity for a number of years, and one may certainly say that running the Website for the Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority also places me in that role.
So recently while I was in Egypt staying at the Hotel Longchamps, the owner mentioned that she was trying to bring in more locals and better establish her restaurant. She had hired an excellent chef and restaurant manager, along with upgrading the overall facilities, service and menu. I immediately suggested that it needed its own name distinct from the hotel. She immediately suggested that they call it Jimmy's.
Well, I'm not sure what bought that on, but nothing like stroking my ego. I agreed, but of course, there would have to be some Jimmy food served, and while I own no part of this establishment, I suppose my pride went to work.
A quiet corner on the Terrace
It is an elegant little establishment with seating inside, as well as on the Hotel Longchamp's two popular terraces. With its many plants and carefully arranged decor, it is always a pleasant place to relax and enjoy one's meal, or have later evening drinks.
The restaurant has always been a solid value even before the recent changes. In fact, when I arrived this last time, tired and hungry after being in the Western Desert for several days, I ordered their Filet Grille,. a steak, that ended up being considerably better than the last steak I ate in Texas! That was a surprise, or maybe not. The restaurant has always been popular among local embassy and foreign corporate personnel who live in Egypt and are in the know about such things. Its not unusual to see an ambassador, or even a famous artists from the Goethe Institute sitting about, or even much of the German Embassy staff having a dinner meeting.
Their new menu has an interesting mix of European, American, and of course Egyptian cuisine, and there is little of it that I have not tried. They had even added hamburgers since my last visit, with scratch made fries.
They also serve a wide variety of beverages, including soft drinks, non-alcoholic and alcoholic mixed drinks and cocktails with a good variety of beers and wine, along with the standard fare of hot drinks such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cappuccino.
However, another interesting facet of the restaurant s that they have no problems arranging food items not on their menu. While sitting on the terrace one day, several people from the University of Memphis, part of the Ahmose dig on their way to Abydos, wanted a special Egyptian dish. It was an item that takes some time to prepare, and is not on the regular menu they were told, but, "hey, we'll get it for you". And so they did, ordering it from a downtown restaurant, the restaurant simply sent a carrier down for the meals and it was on the Longchamps tables in short order.
By the way, they will also put together lunch boxes for your sightseeing at a very reasonable price. Just contact the receptionist.
Now of course, if they are going to call the restaurant Jimmy's, they will have to add a few items. After all, it really couldn't be Jimmy's without a little Jimmy food. And what exactly is Jimmy food? Well, living in West Texas, steaks are one item, but they already had that. So basically that leaves barbecue, Tex-Mex,. a chili cheese burger and chicken-fried steak, which, my wife Joanie, also having grown up in this area on a farm, is fixin' 'em up with the recipes. She's even volunteered to head over and make sure things are done properly.
So yes, you will be able to still have Egyptian Lentil Soup, Chicken Longchamps or a French pastry, all popular in Egypt, but very soon I expect you will also be able to order a few authentic enchiladas with some nachos on the side, or even some barbecue brisket, Texas style. Oh, and maybe even a good Pina Colada, my favorite cold drink on a hot summer day.
Now one may wonder why a tourist would go all the way to Cairo for a little Tex-Mex, but actually Cairo is known for its international restaurants and besides, perhaps if you are German, or French or even an Aussie, it might be fun to try a little something different. And then there is always the odd Texan, who after a week or so touring might be a little homesick.