Ahmed Abdel Nasser
Origin story: Cairo’s Reif Kushiyaki is the first franchise of the Dubai-born, Japanese-inspired outlet for skewered grills, kushi being the Japanese word for skewers. The brainchild of Reif Othman, the restaurant is an ode to robatayaki, a century-old fireside cooking technique popularized by fishermen in the north of Japan. But in the Egyptian capital, it's a family affair: everyone is welcome.
Casual or fancy? Nestled inside 5A By The Waterway Mall, an upscale centre on the eastern end of Cairo, the sizeable 180-seater space – divided into indoor and outdoor – features wooden chairs and beige upholstery that lend it a warm and cosy atmosphere. The atmosphere is informal, but not without a personal touch.
On the menu: From hearty bowls of rice and ramen – cooked with your choice of beef, chicken or seafood – to packed, scrumptious sandos and an array of raw seafood options, at Reif’s there’s something for every taste. The signature offering remains the kushiyaki, which comes in portions of three: guests can choose between chicken, beef and a mighty list of vegetarian options. For those craving something a little fattier, the Katsu Kushi menu includes crispy shrimps topped with chipotle mayo and fresh herbs, and baby squid with yuzu kosho mayo plus onion and celery radish.
Anything else? The kitchen is led by Talal Meligy, who joined Reif Kushiyaki after six years at Kazoku, another member of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, and the restaurant is part of the suite of culinary ventures by Baky Hospitality.