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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Cairo Kitchen: New Branch Opens in Maadi
This branch is easily the better of the two. To begin, it is significantly more spacious. Located in a calm, green, sectionof the suburb, the lower level has outdoor seating and its lower floor is designated to being a sort of deli; an extensive fridge carries the food, while facing it is a bar with stools for those looking to grab a quick bite to eat.
The menu is the same as its Zamalek counterpart, but this one also offers fresh produce to be picked up and prepared at home. Corn on the cob (25LE), herbs, lettuce, cherry tomatoes (5LE) and brussel sprouts (5LE) are just some of the options that can be found laid out in front of the ordering area.
Artichokes in white sauce (36LE) were on the menu at the time of our visit, which we matched with half a chicken from the rotisserie (38LE) and a small salad (15LE) made up of aubergine fatta, beetroot and tehina with carrot and coriander dips. The baladi chic trays to the side caught our attention with their bright colours and authentic, yet edgy designs.
Taking our food upstairs to sit at a standard table, patrons will find cutlery, salt, pepper and hot sauce waiting for them. Drinks are also available on the upper floor in case you miss grabbing one downstairs.
The serving of aubergine fatta on our plate tasted very good, however the lack of crunchy bread we were given was a slight disappointment; the beetroot was chucky and flavoursome with onions that added an extra crunch. The carrot tehina was a little on the sweet side, but the coriander dip was in perfect balance.
The artichokes with the rice (14LE) were very tasty, however they were slightly undercooked for this type of dish. Their crunchy, fresher, quality would have fared better in a salad, but the meal was enjoyable nonetheless. The rotisserie chicken on the other hand was absolutely delicious. Cooked thoroughly, without being dry, the meat was smooth and perfectly seasoned.
Their karkadeh (7.50LE) was as good as it’s always been, and they serve a range of teas and coffee as well. For dessert, we grabbed a small container of vermicelli pudding (9.50LE) and although it tasted wonderful, its consistency could have been a bit firmer. We also snagged a piece of corn bread (9.50LE) that we found to be enjoyable, though a bit dense.
Locally made apple, plum and date jams, chilli sauce, halawa spread and chocolate spread (15LE each) are available, as are packets of gluten free pancake mix and chocolate brownie mix (70LE), as well as different kinds of granola. Although we liked the local products, and the products in general, we found ourselves wondering why none of the tags were written in Arabic. If Cairo Kitchen is championing Egyptian cuisine, then why not promote the use of the language – the same applies to the dishes downstairs.
Regardless, Cairo Kitchen is the perfect place to take your kids, especially if they’re fussy eaters, because it’s easy to personalise dishes. Chicken breast served with white rice topped with a simple sauce sounds like a pretty kid-friendly meal, wouldn’t you say?
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.