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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Shatshat: Spicy Fast Food in Nasr City
Egyptian sandwich shops seem to be taking a step up in style and innovation when it comes to presentation; from the names of their meals to the menu design and ordering process. It is also one way to compete with the bigger fast food chains and stand out amidst the growing numbers of sandwich joints in Cairo.
Shatshat is a new sandwich venue in Nasr City with a menu of mouth watering, enticing and spicy food options. You can pick one of the El-mefalfel rice meals with chicken liver (7.50LE) with some tahabeesh on the side, or, if you can handle it, some seriously spicy hawawshy or 'hawawshatshat' as the venue calls it (10LE).
For shawerma fans, Shatshat will be a disappointment as it's one of the few sandwich places in Cairo that don't make shawerma sandwiches. They've made up for it though with the Miami chicken sandwich (11.75LE), which is more or less a shawerma sandwich with green and red peppers that add a sweet flavour to the chicken.
If you're not much of a spicy food lover, the chicken pané sandwich (12LE) will be a safe choice, and the good news is they don't just fry some chicken out of a frozen box like other fast food joints do; the chicken is marinated and cooked as you'd make it at home, which makes the portions less crunchy but flavoursome.
Though we ordered our kofta meal (25LE) with fries on the side, we received it with rice instead, and they sure make their rice spicy, though it was also fresh and well-cooked. The kofta was served on a bed of tomatoes, onions and peppers and looked a bit pale, but it was fortunately grilled to perfection with a serving of coleslaw and tomeya dip on the side.
If you're not up for cooking on your day off, Shatshat celebrates the weekend with special family meals. The four-meal weekend menu includes a mix grill meal (80LE), which is a mix of chicken, shish tawouk and kofta; all seasoned with Shatshat’s special mixture of herbs. The menu also lists the seafood bamboti meal (80LE), which is served with rice, salad and bread.
Shatshat may not have the hang of things quite yet but they’re getting there. Their sandwiches are good and the service is efficient for the most part; just make sure to double check your order before leaving.
While everyone enjoys sitting down to large scrumptious meal, the end of the month and the countdown to pay-day don't always allow it. In Maadi, there’s a shortage of affordable, medium-tier restaurants, and with the rise in prices that Egypt is experiencing, that is the exact kind of restaurant is the area needs.
Located on the busy Road 306 just off El Nasr St., B Fresco - a modest little restaurant with wood plank floors and orange walls with counters accompanied by bar stools at either side - goes some way to filling that void.
B Fresco serves a variety of sandwiches ranging between meat, chicken and seafood, in addition to a few meals with rice and salads as wells as a selection of appetisers.
Upon inspecting the menu behind the counter, we opted for an interesting looking Wrap Star Sandwich (15LE), a Roast Beef sandwich (19LE), 3-piece portion of Chicken Strips (10LE) and Cheese Fries (7LE).
While waiting, you can see the staff manoeuvring through the kitchen to prepare your food. Served only about 15-20 minutes later, our food certainly looked impressive.
The Wrap Star contains fried chicken strips topped with cheese, lettuce and garlic mayo, which is all then wrapped with tortilla bread into a pentagon shape. The chicken was crisp and cooked well, and the irregular shape was actually easy to eat and didn’t cause a mess.
The Roast Beef sandwich looked equally as impressive, but the beef itself was bland and the sandwich toppings - which included lettuce, pickles and a 'special sauce' - couldn’t salvage it.
The Chicken Strips, the same kind used in the Wrap Star, actually got a better chance to shine when you eat them on their own. The chicken itself is quite tasty and the breading has a decent crunch.
The Cheese Fries were a horrible disappointment; the soggy fries were covered in a mixture of cheddar and white cheese which lumped together and created something that looked like eggs. No, thank you.
All in all, while some of its items fare much better than others, the prices at B Fresco negate at least some of the disappointment and provides a cheap option amongst the usual suspects of fast-food in Cairo.