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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Koshari C. Abdo: Koshary Master in Dokki
Located on Tahrir Street in Dokki, diagonally across from the towering Faisal Islamic bank, the old branch of Koshary El Tahrir has now reopened as Koshari C. Abdo. You can’t miss this two-story restaurant with its bright lights and sign boasting a cartoon image of who we presume to be Abdo himself: a round-bellied chef with koshary on his platter.
You’ll find the place to be roomy on the inside with plenty of tables located both upstairs and down. With the exception of its grand opening, we’ve never seen the place completely packed, so enjoying your bowl indoors is usually an option.
Accompanied by its fake greenery and simple décor, it doesn’t stray far from that quintessential style of most koshary places around. It does differ, though, when it comes to cleanliness. Their sparkling floors and counter tops keep our sanitary worries at bay.
Ordering is simple. Once you enter, place your order with the cashier on the left and head to the back counter with your ticket. The staff’s efficiency and friendliness makes for a hassle-free experience – five minutes has been our maximum wait time.
Abdo’s menu is straightforward and contains the two main dishes that koshary places excel at: koshary and rice pudding. The koshary comes in an array of sizes starting at 3LE up to 15LE-20LE for family-sized portions. Its base is served fresh with piping hot sauce, the onions fried to perfection and Abdoo’s unique touch; an over-the-top amount of cumin atop the lentils. Cumin isn’t an irregular ingredient in koshary but Abdo’s generous portion gives the dish a wonderful kick.
If you can stomach it, Koshari C. Abdo doesn’t joke around with the rice pudding either. For 3LE, it’s creamy, sweet and takes the cake on many other rice puddings we’ve tried previously.
If you find yourself with a hankering for koshary, Abdo is sure not to disappoint.
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.