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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.
As one of the most popular foods in Cairo, shawerma is a traditional meal that never fails to attract hungry Cairenes. With such a hype surrounding meat and bread creations, it’s no surprise that more and more shawerma eateries are opening up.
Flame and Grill has opened up on Zamalek’s famous Brazil Street, replacing Nola Cupcakes. The venue is simple and slightly shabby, with a seating area comprised of high tables and stools with back rests; as is the case with many shawerma venues in the city, seating places are limited, and the venue relies on patrons ordering their sandwiches to go.
The chalk board menus hang behind the counter and are varied enough to be interesting. Appetisers include fries (7LE), Kobeba (16LE) and Kiri cheese sambousak (12LE). Sandwiches available include flamed kofta (25LE-30LE), shish tawook (18LE-26LE), chicken tikka (19LE-27LE) along with the essential meat (10LE-20LE) and chicken shawermas (9LE-19LE). Many of these sandwiches are also available as dishes, served with rice and vegetables, including a mixed grill platter (64LE). Salads and dips are also present such as chicken Caesar (30LE), baladi (10LE), tabboula (16LE), tehina (4LE), tomeya (6LE) and baba ghanough (5LE) amongst others.
We ordered one medium meat shawerma (16LE), a medium grilled chicken fillet sandwich (20LE), a chicken tikka dish (47LE), one balady salad, tomeya and fries. We also requested the dessert of the day but it was unavailable.
Quick to arrive, our food was served on plates without a tray, peculiar for a fast food restaurant. The meat shawerma was well prepared; not over cooked or dry, although it was over-seasoned with herbs. Our tasty, grilled chicken fillet sandwich was served with a strange, pink coloured dressing which we came to learn was thousand island sauce. The chicken tikka dish boasted a generous, well marinated serving of chicken alongside well cooked rice and vegetables, although we stumbled upon the occasional piece of gristle whilst enjoying it.
The baba ghanough was nicely vinegary and strongly flavoured, just like the tomeya. Despite being served at small portions for their price, they both tasted fabulous. The balady salad on the other hand, while made with fresh cut cucumbers and tomatoes, had an unpleasant after taste which we figured came from the dressing. We were impressed with the French fries since they were golden and crunchy, without being excessively salted.
Whilst its attractive exterior and rotisserie caught our eye, we found the food at Flame and Grill to be average at best. Other than its esteemed location, the restaurant seemingly has nothing new to add to an already saturated market.