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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Onions: Warm and Welcoming Restaurant in Heliopolis
Located on El Merghany Street, Onions is a new worthy addition to the culinary scene in Cairo. Offering amiable service and a cosy atmosphere, Onions is perfect for a quick mid-week meal or a lazy weekend outing.
The restaurant boasts a meticulously mowed terrace covered in lush greenery with garden lights, adding a beautiful effect to the restaurant's decor at night.
Once you step inside Onions, you instantly know that you are in safe hands. From the attention paid to every little detail in the decor and the restaurant's overall cleanliness to the fussing over your well-being and satisfaction with the service, this reviewer came to the conclusion that the service at Onions is outstanding. We could only hope that the food would match up to the quality of the service; yet we were left a bit disappointed.
Once we were seated, two complementary bread baskets were served for us to snack on until our orders arrived. The menu at Onions is abundant with options, so if you're anything like this reviewer; be prepared to spend quite a while trying to make up your mind.
After strenuous thought, we ordered the chicken cordon bleu (43.99LE): four slices of chicken breast stuffed with melted cheese, mushroom, olive and roasted beef, covered in bread crumbs and fried. Drenched in a thick, rich and creamy sauce, the chicken had a weird and dislikeable zest, which we later learned to be due to the blue cheese in the sauce. All dishes are served with two sides of your choice of sautéed vegetables, rice, French fries, mashed potato or one side of pasta.
We also ordered a platter of fettuccine pollo (33.99LE): a basic dish of pasta smothered in a delicious and creamy white sauce. We then sampled the cheese burger (13.99LE), served with a handful of French fries. Topped with a slice of cheddar cheese, tomato, and lettuce, the burger was tender and cooked to a juicy perfection. We also had the barbecue chicken pizza (32.99LE). If we were to go by appearances alone, we would have never tried the pizza at all; the toppings were soggy and threatened to fall apart at any minute. But once we had our first bite, all our fears were eliminated.
Since Onions offers massive portions, it might be a little bit difficult to find extra room for dessert. However, if you haven't filled up on the main course, try their light ice cream (18.99LE), or if you feel like something a little more oriental, have the om ali (16.99LE).
Onions' cuisine might not be the best in Cairo; but if you are looking for an evening of comfort food and spectacular service, then Onions should be your destination.
Over the last year or so, new restaurants in Cairo have been introducing more and more exotic cuisines to the dining scene, be it Mongolian or even Peruvian with a Japanese twist, leaving classic favourites like Italian and Asian last week’s news. However, recently opened restaurant, Akli, has gone against the tide and specialises in not only one cuisine, but six, across everything from soups to desserts.
Located off Meccas Street in Dokki, Akli is divided into two zones; the ground floor, which has a exposed glass-wall baking room and shawerma station that wasn’t working at the time of our visit, is made for take-out orders, while the top floor is for dining-in. Besides the unfinished ceiling – which doesn’t seem like it will be finished because the AC duct has already been installed - the interior of the restaurant is on the classic side, with olive green, traditional panelled walls behind ruby buttoned couches. The setup of its tables is also pretty basic, but it actually has a cheerful view of a mini garden. If we were to compare it to another restaurant, Akli has the same spirit of everyone’s favourite, Bon Appetit.
Now let’s talk about the food. Our first flight was to Italy with Spicy Arancini Di Manzo (25LE). Starting from the spot-on creamy texture and the scrumptious golden brown crust, to the melted mozzarella cheese and minced beef, which was bursting with Italian herbs flavours, those four fried Italian rice balls were rather tasty.
Our second stop was at our beloved country with Sojouk (42LE). Lying on a bed of chopped parsley in true 90’s style, the grilled sausage was seasoned well, but it was a bit tough and dry. Overall, though, the appetiser seemed incomplete and needed some kind of a sauce or a dip with it.
Moving to the mains, we opted for the Greek Shrimp Saganaki (120LE). Made of perfectly cooked jumbo shrimp in tomato sauce and topped with feta cheese, the dish was a good one, but it wasn’t Saganaki. There was too little cheese to the flavour and the tomato sauce didn’t have any Greek flavours and tasted like Egyptian vegetable stew. One the other hand, the side of lemon rice added a good zesty flavour to the dish.
We also tried Adana Kebab (89LE) from the Turkish side of the menu. Two pieces of kofta laying on Lebanese bread and served with tahini dip and basmati rice topped with nuts, the dish didn’t capture anything particularly Turkish. Although the kofta was seasoned well and the rice was light and fluffy, the dish was overpriced – it’s almost exactly the same as Shawarmaister’s Kofta Halabi Platter which costs 45LE.
We finished our meal with the French Nougat Glace (27LE) for dessert; a rectangular slice of flawless vanilla ice cream filled with mini bits of pistachio and dried fruits. It was served with sour cherry syrup with a very sticky consistency, but the dessert as a whole was light and well executed.
There’s something about what Akli is trying to do that you can’t help but appreciate – but it’s not an easy job to perfect six different cuisines in one kitchen. The ambiance of the restaurant will take you back in time when you used to dine in a sporting club with the family and the food was, overall, good but there’s nothing remarkable about it.