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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Koshary El Tahrir: One of Cairo's Biggest Koshary Chains Opens in Maadi
In Egypt, the name Tahrir is synonymous with two things; the revolution and the best known koshary restaurant in Cairo. Right in the centre of the bustling El Nasr Street in Maadi, a new and extremely well-furnished branch of Koshary El Tahrir has opened. This new branch opened in the last days of Ramadan, and since then El Nasr Street has become even more crowded and congested because of people dining at its latest addition.
The Maadi restaurant itself is nothing like the koshary chain’s other modest branches; the restaurant consists of two floors with tens of tables and chairs that are very well-organized and comfortable. A sleekly designed banner and spotlights dispersed throughout the venue give the restaurant a modern and funky image that isn’t normally associated with a koshary restaurant.
The staff at Koshary Tahrir is very helpful and friendly, and the service is quite fast and efficient. The koshary itself is delicious especially after using their amazing da’a (lemon, vinegar and garlic dressing)and salsa (tomato sauce). Spicy food lovers beware; their shatta (spicy chilli sauce) is very strong.
The prices at Koshary El Tahrir are not that different from other leading koshary restaurants: the small size costs 3.50LE, medium size costs 5.50LE, the large size is for 7LE while the king size sells for 8LE, and the mega size (enough for three people) sells for 20LE. This reviewer found the king size portion more than enough for a hungry stomach. Additionally, extra tomato sauce, humus or lentils cost 1LE, and after such a heavy meal, you might want to try their delicious rice pudding or mahalabeya for 3LE to cool down.
As with all good koshary joints, the restaurant caters as quickly to those wanting to take-out as they do to those wanting to dine in, and have a swuft and efficient delivery service.
Soft drinks are available at Koshary El Tahrir, including a large cup of Pepsi for 4.50LE, and a small size for 3.50LE.
Even though legend always speaks of the great koshary of Downtown Cairo, Koshary El Tahrir’s latest branch in Maadi more than holds its own. Yes, it is uncharacteristically sleek and modern, but that hasn’t taken away anything from the authenticity of this staple Egyptian dish.
While fast-food certainly has a charm to it, we all have moments when we crave a nice home-cooked meal, but have nowhere to turn to. Fortunately, in recent years, the Cairo restaurant scene has featured several new eateries offering just that.
With the emergence of several of these types of restaurants in Maadi, we turned to the one of the area’s longest running home food delivery services, Akl Beety.
The delivery-only restaurant, located in Nirco’s Fifth Sector, has an enormous menu that features everything from appetisers like mombar and kobeba, to main courses and casseroles, crepes and pizzas.
After scanning the menu, we opted for an order of Kobeba (10LE) and Sambsouak (10.50LE) from the appetisers, Mesa’aa (Egyptian moussaka) with Minced Meat (14LE), Rice with Vermicelli (5LE), Oriental Rice with Nuts (8LE), Meal Number 5 (36LE) and Om Ali with Nuts (13LE) for dessert.
The ordering process was relatively streamlined, but the delivery took about an hour and a half when the restaurant states it should only take an hour if you’re ordering from inside Maadi. This was not explained by the restaurant, and no apologies were made for the delay, even though the kitchen was located less than a five-minute drive from us.
Our food arrived neatly wrapped but relatively cold. We found both the Kobeba and the Sambousak to be disappointing, the former for being under-seasoned to the point of having little flavour, and the latter for being very under-fried. Instead of being a crispy and golden in colour, the Sambousak was almost white and rather chewy.
The Mesa’aa, which had good, deep flavours, but was a little short on the minced meat, worked nicely with the Rice with Vermicelli. The Oriental Rice, however, was much less pleasant, tasting stale and chewy.
Meal number five, which is made up of Chicken Pane, Vine Leaves, Yoghurt Salad, French Fries and a soda, was probably our highlight of the night. Two pieces of fairly decent breaded chicken breast and a generous portion of tasty vine leaves made this meal the best at value for money. The French fries were disappointingly soggy, though, and the yoghurt salad was a little bland.
The Om Ali, surprisingly the warmest dish in the entire order, while tasty, was unfortunately dry and could’ve used some extra milk.
All in all, we found our meals to be quite decent, but it’s difficult to call it anything else. On the one hand, the value for money is great, totalling at 106LE for two people and some food left over, but on the other hand, it suffers the same problem most home-food restaurants do; it still tastes better at home.