Trying the local cuisine is an inextricable part of exploring Cairo; you haven't completely comprehended the nature of Egyptians until you have tried the food that has been passed on from generation to generation.

Tom & Basal is a local restaurant chain that serves up traditional Egyptian food for jaw-dropping prices. Don't get this wrong; you can feed up to eight people for less than 100LE, which – given the sky-high prices of Cairo – is a bargain.

With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, tables overlook the street and customers can enjoy their meals while witnessing the hustle and bustle of Nasr City’s daily life and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Perhaps the restaurant is better suited for families with kids yelling and laughing adding to the cosiness of the atmosphere. Tom & Basal is your-run-of-the-mill, wallet-friendly but not diet-friendly restaurant.

Every table has a pre-served jar of water, which had tomato sauce smears at the time of this reviewer's visit. The water had floating black bits, which can only make you guess how many greasy-handed customers have used it. So, we decided that we weren't thirsty anymore.

Tom and Basal is famous for its koshary, which was surprisingly disappointing. Apart from the scarce presence of rice that should dominate a big chunk of a typical koshary dish, the macaroni was overcooked. For an extra 1.25LE, you can add more ta'leya (fried onion), black lentil or chickpea. You can choose from several sizes with prices starting at 4LE. Tom & Basal just proves to this reviewer that nothing beats home-cooked koshary.

With a hefty menu of savoury and sweet fiteer to choose from, in medium and large sizes, we ordered local Roumi cheese filling for our fiteer (15LE), which was cooked with green pepper, olive and chopped tomatoes. It was deliciously greasy and scrumptiously fattening – molten butter dripped as we ate.

We also tried the powdered sugar fiteer (4LE), which was immensely greasy and had us worried about our cholesterol. It smelled heavily of butter and had us dizzy with the prospect of oncoming calories. We had to literally scrape the butter off in hopes of the fiteer being more merciful on our stomachs. Although we ordered the medium-sized fiteer, it was too big for one person to polish off.

The service was relatively slow. It took about 45 minutes for our fiteer to arrive and the only thing worse than an angry customer is a hungry customer.

As for dessert, we opted out altogether. Although rice pudding with nuts (3.25LE) seemed tantalising, we couldn't risk a food coma.