Week 35: Along the Spice Route

Radio Cairo

Following the traditions of the spice route, Radio Cairo is a dynamic mix of Jamaican, African and Asian cuisines. So many options almost confuses the diner, so would the food do the same to the taste buds… 

Nutrition- 5

Taste- 6

Service- 7

Ambience- 6

Extra mile- 5

Budget – Medium

*Scores are out of 10

Radio Cairo rating – 29/50 on a medium budget

radio cairo

Mike

If I’m brutally honest, I have been staring at the screen, struggling with what to write for Radio Cairo.

Based upon some of the history, spices, dishes and stories gathered from the Spice Route, this little gem is definitely something to for yourself.


White baitHowever, for those not in Sydney, well, I can’t quite think what I can cover to help you out. You see, I love spices, I love the different recipes being offered up here, from the Negumbo Harlmassa (fried white bait) to the Cajun’blackened’ Snapper Fillets and the Jamaican In New York BBQ’d Jerk Pork Ribs. Every bit of variation, as large as it may seem, certainly sounds divine and what we tasted had the punch to back it up.

 

So, as much as I would like to talk about the amazing benefits of spices, we kind of covered that in our Middle Eastern week here. I then thought perhaps I could continue on from my chat (ahem, rant, ahem) last week about buying local, seasonal food and helping to sustain and benefit local farmers, instead of huge cash dominating corporations like Coles and Woolies- thinking that the story of the spice route adds nicely to this theme of trade between local farmers and merchants etc.

However, in essence, I covered that last week. I would hate to repeat myself… 😉

 Instead, a way to look at menus like this…

So, this is what I’ve come up with- Radio Cairo has a reasonably large menu. Not your generic ‘Asian restaurant’ menu with 3+3 pages, but comprehensive nonetheless. I believe it kind of has to, in order to cover the breadth of cuisines it does – going through the Orient, into the Sub-continent, Africa, The Middle East and the Caribbean – but it still poses issues when  one looks at it; just where do I start and what should I have?

 

This is my advice upon confronting such a menu- RadioCairo menu

  • Cuban sirloin slippersLook it over and note what catches your eye. Make a mental short list of starters/entrees and mains
  • Think about your week so far, what you’ve had, what else is in store. If you are operating a roughly 80-90% healthy eating plan and this needs to fall in there due to your surrounding week, then eliminate any options that fall outside of that. If not, and you can afford to relax on this meal, you might want to narrow it down by dropping some of the more healthy options and shortening the list to actually include the more relaxed ones.
  • Decide on the ‘central’ part of the dishes you are after. For example, you may have had some chicken and beef already that day, so having a vegetarian starter and seafood for main might make good sense. Or, if you’ve had no red meat that week because you don’t like to cook it yourself, this is the perfect time to get some in. This instantly narrows your short list down
  • From here ask the wait staff what they, or the chef recommends. If any of them come into your short list, BINGO!- you have your answer made. If not, you can choose to change depending on the strength of the recommendation, e.g. “You simply must try the ‘blah blah blah it’s what we’re famous for”. In that scenario, you should consider a change from your plan
  • Outside of this, if they cover a few things that you have, just make a decision from your now much smaller and more manageable menu
  • Or, simply close your eyes and point. The classic hit and hope.

And that is how to break down the sizeable menu and ensure you get something you can be happy with. You’re welcome…

Not it just requires the chef to nail it. Which happened in our case. My Cuban Juju Sirloin Slippers were a definite taste success. The whitebait and special entree of Chicken Molé were fabulous, while I’ll leave NN to talk about her snapper, and potentially something else…

 Blackened snapper fillets

Nards

Hmm where to follow on from that?  Radio Cairo is one of those places that you go to when you know what you want, and you know it will deliver.   I have eaten here many many times over the years, and it has never disappointed.  The menu stays relatively the same, with the exception of its seasonal specials.  So when you are hankering for some delicious melt-in-your-mouth ribs, or some Cajun Popcorn Prawns or the Blackened Cajun Snapper then Radio Cairo is the ‘go-to’.

 Chicken Mole

After a monster training session I was ready to inhale some hearty food, so we began with the Whitebait, and Chicken Molé, and finished with Snapper – a big protein hit coupled with a small serving size of couscous and yoghurt on the side.

 

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with ordering entrée’s as well as mains (or a desert if you are having a more relaxed meal and making an evening of it) I just suggest that you keep the entrée protein or vegetable based – hence why we ordered the Whitebait.  This way if you are too full to get through your main, you have at least filled up on quality protein or vegetables, and not on bread or poor quality options (which tend to make up most of the options for Entrées).

 

Overall a lovely dinner spent with a lovely man at a trusty restaurant.

NN & MC

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