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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Kasr El Shouk: Egyptian Restaurant in Dokki Combining New & Old
Many of us can become nostalgic for traditional Egyptian food, especially considering the amount of foreign cuisine that has engulfed Cairo. Classical Egyptian has been in danger of disappearing from the market but Kasr El Shouk in Dokki, continues to fly the flag with a menu that includes favourites such as fatta, mesa’aa, molokheya, stuffed pigeon, and tagen-cooked meat and vegetables.
From the outside, the building that hosts the restaurant looks like a traditional two-storey Egyptian house. Once you enter through the beautiful wooden door, you’ll be amazed at how this place balances modernity and authenticity. Not only does it look Egyptian, but also carries the qualities of generosity and hospitality.
The Om Kalthoum songs that play in background help in creating a soothing, welcoming atmosphere. The lighting was neither too dim nor too bright; which further added to the pleasant ambiance.
The service was almost at hotel standard; we were escorted to the second floor, and then led by our waiter to our table. A short time after we sat, they served us complimentary hibiscus as a welcome drink. A few minutes after we ordered, the waiter brought us warm towels and waited until we were finished to take them away.
We ordered a raheb salad (9LE), tomato and cream soup served with croutons (12LE), and a mixed platter of mahshi (9LE) – which was composed of stuffed vine leaves, stuffed zucchinis, stuffed green peppers and stuffed cabbage, served with yoghurt and freshly baked bread. They all tasted like homemade mahshi.
Before serving our main course, the waiter brought several metal holders with a candle under each, these were used to put under the plates in order to keep our food warm.
We had ordered a tagen she’reya (39LE), veal tagen (55LE),and some fresh kishk (35LE). The first dish had rice mixed with she’reya, and the second was also mainly rice, but with meat added. Both items tasted good but the tagen she’rya had a bit too much salt. As for the kishk; its normal consistency is usually milkier than the one served to us, but it was nonetheless very tasty with its accompanying sauce adding to the flavor. Ultimately
Finally, for dessert, we opted for the nouga Kasr El Shouk (18LE), made up of mixed dry fruits and nuts in fresh ice cream, with a slice of white cake and juice. By all standards, this was the perfect oriental dessert to have after a wholesome Egyptian meal. For the third time we were served sweet potato and again, it was on the house.
Kasr El Shouk is highly recommended because you have the chance to try something you rarely find in other places around town.
Whilst most of the newer restaurants in Cairo claim to serve up authentic Egyptian meals, nothing quite compares to the delights of longstanding, local koshary establishments. Downtown Cairo is packed with cheap and delicious koshary restaurants with fast, friendly service where you can opt to dine in or take away.
Building up an almost unrivalled reputation, just two blocks from Tahrir Square, Abou Tarek’s restaurant is spread over two floors; a necessity due to its popularity and bustle.
However, the décor is a little more flamboyant than most koshary outlets, with artificial greenery and several large, tropical fish tanks, tempting customers to sit and eat. Downstairs, there’s also a television if you like a little entertainment while you dine.
The generous bowls of koshary start from as little as 3LE, though it is possible to purchase a range of sizes for just a few pounds more. For 10LE, big eaters will be afforded a humungous portion. Of course, no koshary meal would be complete without the essential garlic dressing, da'a, and chilli sauce, both of which Abou Tarek do fantastically.
There is also a small range of canned drinks (4LE) and mineral water (2LE) to wash down that delightful meal.
We waited less than five minutes for two bowls of delicious koshary which werw not only served quickly, but also with a smile from the locals who run the establishment – just another one of the special, very vital ingredients that really do make a difference.
Though koshary is the main focus, should you have room for dessert, sweet, creamy rice pudding is amongst the options, and cost a mere 3LE per serving.
Serving some of the best-tasting koshary in the heart of Downtown Cairo, Abou Tarek has once again proved to be a must-go for all koshary fans.