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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Tourism Restaurant Taher: Who's Up For a Little Brain?
Whether you're a picky eater or not, we tend to get comfortable with our foods of choice and rarely venture outside the box to try something that's new and odd to our palates.
While both chicken and beef liver are known delicacies in Egypt, the brain is a body part rarely explored by fine diners. However, it's known among street-food connoisseurs to pair quite well with the liver region. Although the idea of eating it seems a bit zombie-like; we decided to give it a shot nonetheless.
Located on the corner of Falaki Street and Tahrir Street in Downtown Cairo is Tourism Restaurant Taher, a restaurant known for its exquisite brain. While the restaurant has an indoor dining area on the first floor, it's better known for its take-away service. Head around the corner onto Falaki Street and if you have the guts; place your order at the second door on the left.
The restaurant's menu consists of two main dishes: brain and liver. Once you order, take a seat as the wait may take up to 30 minutes; which we attribute to the fact that they're careful about handling the parts of a cow.
For 45LE, half a kilo of beef liver and brain are served with plenty of baladi bread, tomato and cucumber salad, as well as baba ghanough and fried eggplant. Each side dish is extremely fresh and could possibly be the best in the Downtown area.
Deep-fried and cut into small portions, the brain's texture takes some getting used to with its squishy nature and, well, the idea that you're eating a brain. Paired with the salad and thrown into a soft piece of baladi bread, it provides just enough crunch.
Eaten alongside the brain, the liver is served sliced into delicate, thin fillets and seasoned to perfection with a bit of a bite.
If you're up for an adventure and exploring a little more of the moo in your life; head to Tourism Restaurant Taher for a fine taste of intelligence.
Is there no end to new restaurants in Cairo? Feteera opened at the beginning of March and like many of the brand new eateries which pop up out of nowhere in Zamalek, it looks to be a hip joint from the outside. However, Fateera avoids being pretentious; its walls may be adorned with indie pop art images, but its main feature is a huge stone oven at the back – which, far from being a mere gimmick, turned out to be a wonder when it comes to cooking pies.
In Egypt, feteera can translate into anything from ‘pie' or 'pancake' to 'pizza' – balady-style – so those new to the dish may be curious as to what they'll receive. Although the menu reads ‘pie’, the selection of toppings suggests pizza, and as we waited for our ‘feteera’ to arrive we were further perplexed as we watched the chef sculpt the dough into an assortment of shapes, looking suspiciously like a pancake.
On offer from Feteera’s menu are vegetarian, cheese, seafood and chicken or meat dishes, plus additional toppings which are available for between 2LE-11LE.We ordered a Chicken and Pesto Pie (52LE) and a Mushroom Roll (25LE).
When the food arrived, it was piping hot, but we were still none-the-wiser about what to call it. We can best describe it as a crispy pancake stuffed with pizza-style fillings, so the best word for this creation may indeed be: pie. The Chicken and Pesto Pie was creamy and delicious, offering a good balance of flavour with plenty of chicken to fill the 12 inch dish. The pastry was cooked beautifully and formed a light flakey casing for the chewy cheesy center. Slightly worrying were the grease stains left at the bottom of the dish and after our cutlery failed to live up to the job, using our fingers to eat the pie turned out to be messy business.
The roll was a crispy pancake wrap, such as to rival Lebanon’s manouche. It contained roasted peppers, which despite not having been specified on the menu were a warming addition to what was otherwise a very plain snack. The mushrooms were slightly undercooked and hadn’t properly infused with the other flavours and despite the encouraging chunks of garlic and olives, all were tasteless. The roll proved to be too doughy and plain, losing all its taste despite the crunchy chewy texture we bit into at first boded well.
For dessert we treated ourselves to the Mars wrap (28LE) and a Banana and Peanut Butter wrap (29LE). Feteera could have been more generous with the amount of chocolate but the peanut butter and banana combination was a triumph, if we do say so ourselves. It tasted buttery and soft, filled with just the right amount of ripe banana.
Though feteer with toppings is nothing new, this Egyptian pie house gets the thumbs up from us for bringing a traditional Egyptian dish up to date, allowing diners to fill up on an authentic dish with a modern Zamalek twist.