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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.
No matter how much we love pizza, sushi or nachos, our very own traditional Egyptian cuisine will forever remain our go-to comfort food; because let's face it, it's in our genes. Craving some homemade Egyptian food, we paid a visit to Maadi's Kazouza on Street 9, which hits enough right notes in terms of atmosphere and delicious Egyptian street bites offered.
After miraculously finding a parking spot around the corner and doing a discrete little happy dance - spotted by the people in the car next to us - we were greeted by thefriendly staff into an all-outdoors area, where we took our seats next to several fans leaving us slightly pacified in the insufferable heat.
With a traditional Ahwa Baladi setting, Kazouza offers Egyptianised décor with retro touches, including circular Ahwa tables, old-looking salt and pepper shakers, aged frames as well as vintage tin boxes - the kind of stuff you'd find at grandma’s house.
Checking the menu, we were a little disappointed to find that many items were either unavailable or are still to be added in Kazouza’s new menu. .
After some debate, we opted for some fries (8LE) and Cheese Sambousak(14LE) as appetisers, which arrived, hot and delicious, in no time.
The fries were gold and crisp, while the four sambousak pieces satisfied our afternoon cheese-cravings; perfectly crunchy on the outside, with soft molten cheese on the inside infused with fresh mint.
Coming up next was the much anticipated feteer, Kazouza's signature dish served on a wooden cutting board; we went for a Mixed Meat Feteera (50LE) - comprised of sausages, minced meat and salami mixed with vegetables and cheese. We also wanted to try out Kazouza’s Kofta sandwiches (12LE), served in fino bread.
Taste-wise, the feteer was among some of the best we’ve ever had, boasting a fluffy texture, fresh ingredients and a balanced combination of cheese, meat and veggies. As far as the size goes, however, the portion was rather small. The kofta sandwiches were also a success; smothered in tomatoes and tehina, the meat wasn't too greasy and we loved flavourful seasoning.
After our feteer and kofta fiesta - and after washing it all down with some cold refreshing lemon juice and some Karkadeh (11LE each) - we were ready for dessert. Dessert, however, wasn't ready for us; many of the items in the menu, including rice pudding and cream caramel, weren't available at the time of our visit.
We eventually opted for Cream and Custard Feteer (31LE). It must have been fate, though, because we quickly forgot about the unavailable dishes; filled with heavenly fresh cream, sprinkled with coconut and dripping a delicious syrup, it made up for the initial dessert choices we craved.
Overall, we left Kazouza with mixed feelings; on one hand, the food and the service were excellent, the décor and props were creative, but on the other hand, the small portions and the unavailability of several items was disappointing.