The Marriott Resort in Naama bay is one of Sharm’s classic hotels; it is opulent and welcoming. As soon as you arrive you feel like you will be in the hands of staff that will take care of you.
It has just the right amount of grandeur to leave you impressed but not so much that you can’t relax. I felt happy to be there as I walked up towards the sweeping entrance, lined with trimmed lawns and neat hedgerows.
The hotel interior is classically luxurious, polished marble floors and elegant pillars create a grand lobby entrance. With the minimalist design of more recently built hotels, it’s a pleasure to experience the old-world ambience of the resort.
A glinting Arabic coffee pot perches on a nearby bar, poised and ready for pouring, whilst guests checking in, can help themselves to an exotic looking hibiscus coloured juice at reception.
Everything is at hand adding a welcoming touch on arrival.
The Beach BBQ Restaurant is a short walk from reception where you’ll glide along marbled floors, down steps, past the brightly lit aquamarine pool, a jewel framed by palm trees.
You can also reach the restaurant from outside in just seven minutes from Naama Bay, alongside the beach promenade.
This is one of my favourite walks in town, the path to the restaurant is softly lit, there are low rise hotels and shops on one side and the sea on the other.
It feels more like a walk through a quiet Mediterranean seaside village, its relaxed atmosphere contradicts the buzzing epicenter of Naama Bay, with its brightly lit facades and booming bars.
The Beach BBQ restaurant which opens for food between 12pm-11pm, is tucked away at the other end of the promenade.
It is a short walk across a low lit path fringed by green bushes and Egyptian flowers.
The restaurant is filled with pretty marbled tables, comfortable cream and aquamarine chairs and sea blue placemats.
There is authentic live Arabic music, songs by Egypt’s legendary singer, Om Kalthoum, are received with gasps of appreciation. Egyptians adore her, as do her fans in neighboring Arabic countries.
Her music is soaked up with glee by the audience.
You can catch the Arabic band on Friday, Sunday and Tuesdays or come and see Marwa perform on Saturday, Monday and Thursday.
Traditional Arabic folklore music is played every Wednesday.
Alternatively, you can unwind and watch sports, whilst ordering food and drinks at the beach bar, which is positioned between the entertainment and restaurant.
The Marriott has combined this so well, so neither intrudes on the other and sits perfectly together. Everything works seamlessly.
Haitham Serag, the restaurant manager, works tirelessly ensuring that his guests are happy. The restaurant offers eight types of freshly caught fish which are all written up daily on a chalk board near the grill and cooked to order by their talented chef, Mohamed Badwy.
Haitham, took me to meet Sabah, who is the hotels very own bread maker from Sinai. She silently works beside her oven and what comes out is something truly special.
She makes the freshest Bedouin creations you will taste and has her own spot in the restaurant where she works.
I watched as she rolled the dough and placed it in a traditional dome shaped oven, flames danced around the flat circles and what appeared soon after were these magical puffs of bread. Sabah makes two types, one is the smaller type eaten at dinner and the other a larger circular Saj variety, which is made in the day and used to create the popular Egyptian shawarma wrap.
The bread was brought to the table along with six mezze starters. A colourful fattoush salad of fresh herbs, cubed tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and crispy fried bread, which soaked up the dressing and fresh juices.
Other variants of the recipe can include peppers, radishes, lettuce, chilli, mint, parsley, coriander, allspice, cinnamon and sumac. This salad was beautifully fresh and light.
The salad came with a bowl of moutabal, which translates to ‘seasons’ and is very similar to Egyptian baba ganoush.
The smoky aubergine dip had flavours of tahina, garlic and was decorated with bright slices of pepper, fresh herbs and splashed with oil. This was scooped into pieces of Sabah’s fresh bread, along with a beautifully smooth humous.
The dip was authentically swirled around the dish, dressed generously with a grassy light olive oil, leafy parsley and dusted with paprika.
Haitham then brought three more starters, some very crispy fried bread triangles and a bowl of cheese sambouseks, which had a buttery rich taste, with the lightest cheese filling inside. They were perfect, almost like mini Arabic cheese soufflés. These were generously dipped in moutabal, a dip I will be trying to make as soon as I can get to my local fruit and vegetable store, to buy up all their beautifully fresh aubergines! Next dish was the kobeba.
A classical Middle Eastern dish consisting of a filling of ground beef in a crispy bulgur wheat jacket! These are addictive and you can easily eat a whole plate without realising (dipped in humous of course) as you watch the band play another classic song by Om Kalthoum.
The restaurant is very relaxed but high end, it has a wooden canopy, which reminded me of the stilted wooden huts you might stay in whilst on holiday in a place like the Maldives. Like a tropical hideaway, the position is on the beach, where lights from town hit the sea creating shimmering red, orange and green zigzags on the water. Perfect for a romantic meal which the hotel can arrange for guests.
I watched the Egyptian moon making silvery circles on the water as Haitham brought over the main course. This was grilled shish taouk, two perfectly cooked skewers of chicken and beef studded with sliced green and red pepper. The dish came with some tasty koftas and two pieces of lamb which were charred and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. The food sat on a mixture of sliced and shaved pieces of fresh grilled Egyptian vegetables.
The main meal was accompanied by a spiced, herb infused vegetable tagine which arrived in a deep earthenware dish decorated with a sprig of rosemary. The rich tomato sauce, had depth from a long cooking time which responded well to the sweet carrots and lightly cooked tomato, adding something light and fresh to the dish.
Just when I thought we were finished, Haitham appeared with dessert, a perfectly cooked Om Ali. This could be described as the Egyptian sister of English bread and butter pudding. Om Ali is a lighter and more fragrant version though, typically made with phyllo pastry, jewelled golden raisins, toasted almonds, coconut, milk and cream. The Marriott chef, added cinnamon, which when combined with the creaminess of the dish made it the tastiest thing I have tried in quite a while!
The Executive Chef, Amgad El Nemr, designs all the menus at the hotel; he is a creative asset to the Marriott team offering some really unique flavours and carefully thought out dishes. He passed by to check if the food was okay and if there were any questions, I just had compliments for him. The Beach BBQ Restaurant is a great addition to the Marriott Resorts collection of restaurants, a highly recommended place to eat.