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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.
Koshary, foul, taameya are the foods most synonymous with Egypt, but rarely does anyone bring up feteer – a classic Egyptian dish that can be traced back for many generations. With several versions covering sweet and savoury, as well as the traditional Feteer Meshaltet, restaurants who focus on Feteer can target a very wide audience and get creative.
In Maadi, one such eatery by the name of Feteera can be found on Road 233. With one man behind the counter both taking orders and preparing them, the restaurant itself is tiny, meaning eating-in isn’t exactly the most comfortable of experience.
But feteer is a food best eaten at home where you can get messy without the judgemental eyes of fellow diners. The menu features both feteer and pizza, alongside the Rocket Menu – feteer wrapped into a sandwich.
We opted for a Minced Meat Rocket (15LE) and an Alexandrian Sausage Rocket (15LE), as well as an Alexandrian Hawawshi (15LE).
Serving time was quick and the Rocket Feteer consisted of three wraps per order in Styrofoam plates. Using feteer essentially as bread is an obvious but novel use of it, but the stuffing itself did little to help either sandwich. Firstly, because it was so scarce, and secondly, the meats – especially the minced beef – were overcooked to gaminess. In addition, the feteer itself was greasy and soggy.
The Hawawshi, which we originally thought was just a Rocket stuffing, turned out to be a full sized hawawshi with a peculiar non-bread but also non-feteer dough. Whatever this hawawshi was trying to be, it missed the mark entirely, thanks primarily, once again, to overcooked meet.
While Feteera’s creative use of feteer is commendable, the fetter itself didn’t impress, often being far too greasy. Another factor that undermined the food is the overcooked meet that, when combined with disappointing feteer, didn’t leave much to enjoy. There’s always a danger when meddling with a classic – especially when the fundamentals aren’t executed correctly. The biggest problem with Feteera, ultimately, is that behind the innovative variations, the feteer itself left much to be desired, so anything built on top of that is doomed to fall short.