Cairo thrives when it comes to local and international cuisine. Bearing that in mind, we decided to venture out to Nabil El Wakkad Street in Heliopolis to try out a recently opened Spanish restaurant which caught our eye.

The menu offered promising Spanish and international dishes. Big fans of authentic Spanish cuisine ourselves, we opted to do it the traditional way and started off with tapas.

We tried the regular sized empanadillas (13.50LE) which consisted of four pieces of pastry filled with generator bearing eggs, tuna, red pepper and onions. Although the pastry itself was good, they were scantily filled and rather dull in taste.

We also gave the Andaluca (17.50LE) a go; a small bowl of delicious chicken liver in cherry sauce with cooked tomatoes and green pepper. The chicken was perfectly tender and the sauce wasn’t too sweet as to overwhelm  it was by far, our favourite dish. The tapas came with complimentary toasted bread which was perfect for dipping into the Andaluca.

While deciding on the rest of the food, we marvelled at the flamboyant copycat Picasso paintings hanging on the walls. Despite the clich, we wished there had been some flamenco or salsa music to set an ambiance rather than the banal western music videos playing on the flat screen TVs.

For the main dishes, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the seafood paella (53.50LE) and the Spanish saffron chicken (49.50LE). The paella came as a concoction of rice, mussels, shrimp, red and yellow sweet pepper, peas, beans and freshly cut tomatoes. It wasn’t truly up to par with our expectations; it was lacking in seasoning, which could’ve given the dish the extra oomph that it needed.

The saffron chicken wasn't that much more impressive; it was absolutely bland and an utter disappointment. The dish was supposed to consist of chicken in cream sauce with garlic, basil, rosemary and saffron, but none of that came through when we tried the dish. It came with a serving of white rice and sauted vegetables which, truth be told, were cooked well but not enough to salvage the chicken.

Finally, we ordered churros and chocolate cake (17.50LE each) for dessert. Six individual churros were accompanied by a warm chocolate sauce with hotplate underneath to keep the sauce malleable and warm. The churros were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside but the chocolate was a bit too sweet in our opinion.

As for the chocolate cake; it was soft, big and topped with an equally warm and equally sweet chocolate sauce which wasn’t bereft of taste, but it wasn’t the most striking either.

Despite the failings in the food, Picasso offers some decent dishes at a reasonable prices. The staff were friendly as well as a speedy, and the generous portions would leave diners feeling stuffed. We paid 208LE in total and concluded that some culinary adjustments might have made the experience a bit more worthwhile.