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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Fuul House: Creative Foul Dishes in Mohandiseen
As the name suggests, this is a house full of foul dishes. But not any old foul dishes – this new place on Iraq Street, in Mohandiseen, boasts the claim of having the best foul in town; homemade, fresh and tasty. The small shop mainly works on takeaway and delivery basis, but they do have two side bars where you can have a quick sit in to eat or wait for your order. However, during Ramadan, they also have a small seating area outside with a few chairs and small tables. The décor is simple and colourful with an antique blue door at the back which is the highlight of the place. Inside, you’ll see a counter made in the shape of a foul cart where they serve the foul, along with homemade chips and salads.
The menu is full of variety with traditional Egyptian foul dishes, as well as Lebanese and Syrian versions, not to mention their own special mixes. Prices start from 2LE for a plain foul sandwich to 3.50LE for a special foul mix; and from 6LE to 10LE you can get a box of foul.
We tried the Syrian foul, made with hummus and olive oil; the Lebanese mixed with salad that had lots of green coriander leaves and a hint of garlic; and the Gulf mix with whole foul beans, garlic and tomato sauce. We were blown away by the Vinaigrette Foul; with sliced onions and a nice tanginess, it was by far our favourite.
The shamy falafel, made with hummus, were crispy on the outside, light and very tasty as a whole - they were made in the shape of a small doughnut with a hole in the middle. Prices are 3LE for a sandwich and 5LE for a box of four falafels. The sandwich, made from fresh, round shamy bread, is full of salad and your choice of tehina or hummus spread.
Takeaway sandwiches are wrapped up nicely with a colourful wrapper and sealed with a neat label indicating which is foul and which is falafel.
Egg dishes on the menu are particularly unusual like boiled eggs with oregano (5LE) or da’a (a mix of dry salt, pepper and cumin) and omelette with vegetables and cheese (4.50LE), which you don’t normally find in foul shops.
The salads are great too; the baba ghanough bursts with garlic, the tehina is flavourful with the right texture and we especially liked the classic white cheese with tomato, which also green had peppers on top.
If you want a homely version of foul and want to try out new mixes, this is the place to go.
With plenty of new restaurants opening as fast as lightning and raising the bar for fine dining in Cairo, the interest in fast food venues is waning – even burger and pizza places are putting more focus on being gourmet. But, located on Zamalek’s busy 26th of July Street, roasted chicken specialist, Chick Shack, proves that the fast food concept is still popular in Cairo.
Not to be confused in any way with popular American chain, Shake Shack, the eatery’s name attracted some negative attention, but it all played into its publicity. The name is where the similarities end, though; Chick Shack stands out with a unique interior and playful vibe of its own. Some of its standout features include its ringed chandelier, an interesting choice of cold colours and a wall made of A-Treat soda boxes, not to mention the quirky staff uniforms made-up of buttoned-to-the-top shirts, grey trousers, suspenders and hats that Michael Jackson would have been proud of.
The menu is quite simple, with roasted chicken as the main attraction, though other items include Lasagna (34LE), Potato Wedges (8LE), or Tropical Salad (18LE) and can work as side dishes.
We started our meal with Shack Salad (28.50LE) as an appetiser, and as our mains, we went with Half Chicken Meal (55LE) and Chicken Cannelloni (27LE).
A mixture of grilled chicken, green apple cubes, corn, bell pepper, pomegranate and mayo dressing, the Shack Salad was an interesting concoction. We loved the tart taste from the green apple which worked well with the pomegranate and the sweet-corn, but the chicken itself was overcooked and very tough.
Now, let's move to what we actually came for: roasted chicken. Served with sautéed vegetables which had a remarkable garlicky flavour and possibly the best spicy basmati rice, which was cooked to perfection and bursting with Mexican spices, the roasted chicken was well-marinated and had a zesty flavour which popped in every single bite. However, the chicken itself was a little bit undercooked but definitely not raw, and even though it was very tasty, the skin wasn’t as crispy as we would've hoped.
We were worried about the ready-to-serve Chicken Cannelloni, but it was surprisingly tasty. Stuffed with chicken and peppers which had flavours similar to fajitas, the cannelloni was well-cooked and had a generous amount of cream parmesan cheese sauce. Sloppy presentation aside, the cannelloni made for a great vehicle for the chicken.
Overall, there was little to complain about at Chick Shack. The venue stands out as one of the healthier fast food places in Cairo; one that also boasts fantastic service, great staff and a friendly atmosphere. The only downside is that there are no desserts to speak of – but with the concept built on a ready-to-serve approach, maybe a soft serve ice cream machine would be a perfect fit. But that’s just us.