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6th of October City, Cairo, Egypt.
Al Jinani: Authentic Syrian Breakfast in 6th of October City
With an ever-increasing Syrian population in Egypt, Cairo has witnessed a rise in the number of restaurants and fast food venues offering dishes from the Levant. Craving some authentic Syrian eats for breakfast, we headed over to Al Jinani, a restaurant in the Syrian district in 6th of October city.
Taking a stroll right across from El Hussary Mosque, we entered said Syrian District a busy area boasting dozens of restaurants and fast food venues with typical Syrian choices on the menu, including shawerma, fattah and kebab halabi amongst others.
At every corner of the district, there are grocery shops selling Syrian goods including cheese, nuts and olive oil, not to mention dozens of confectionaries offering Syrian desserts including Konafa Nabulsiya and Halwa Al Jibn.
Like most of the restaurants in the district, Al Jinani has a simple outdoorsy setting on the sidewalk. We sat down to enjoy the sun and the cool morning breeze.
After the friendly waiter's recommendation, we opted for a platter of regular Syrian foul (8LE), foul with milk (8LE), falafel (5LE), Tase'yee (10LE) and Mosabaha (7LE) – Syrian hummus – which were all served with a side of pickles.
Cooked with chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil, our foul was quite flavourful with the garlic, parsley and lemon giving it just the right punch. The foul with milk had essentially the same ingredients as the regular foul, only with the addition of yoghurt and tehina and was even more flavourful than the first, with the tehina yoghurt twist perfectly complementing its components.
Unlike the Egyptian version, Syrian falafel is made out of chickpeas instead of fava beans, which gave it a lighter green colour and it was hot, crunchy and as delicious as any you'll find in Cairo. With a texture similar to the tehina paste, our Mosabaha made with chickpeas was light, creamy and overall quite enjoyable.
The coup de grace, however, was the Tase'yee. Served with essentially the same ingredients we tasted in our foul – chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley and tehina – but without the foul and with the addition of fried bread pieces and margarine on top; though it was quite heavy, it was by far the highlight of our breakfast and we couldn't get enough of it.
All in all, our breakfast experience at Al Jinani was quite delightful and as much as we think nothing can beat our good old Egyptian foul medames, we really enjoyed the distinctive Syrian flavours introduced in Al Jinani's dishes. It's an experience you're likely to repeat more than once, especially if you're a fan of Syrian cuisine.
Let’s face it; there are at least three restaurants in your vicinity that can deliver you a shawerma. While we love a good shawerma, and the cuisine of the Levant in general, there are just too many subpar restaurants ruining the good name of Syrian food.
It’s not just about the meat or chicken; it’s the little things like the tomeya, the saj bread and the marinade - the kind of things that truly elevate the experience. If you’ve been feeling like all the Syrian food you’ve been trying recently all tastes the same, rejoice because you won’t believe how much better this restaurant is.
Located at the very end of Road 233 in Maadi, Khayrat El Sham is a very modestly-sized restaurant that operates on takeaway and delivery. Don’t be fooled by the size, or the modesty, because you’re about to be blown away by flavour.
The menu features shawerma sandwiches, meals and fattahs, as well as grill options that are served as meals or sandwiches including Shish Taouk, Msahab (boneless chicken), kofta and kebbeh. The appetisers include fattoush, tabouleh, kebbeh and a mean pomegranate molasses.
We opted for a Shish Taouk Meal (31LE) as well as a Meat Shawerma Fattah (31LE) alongside an extra order of Yellow Basmati Rice (7LE), Coleslaw (8LE) and a Kofta Sandwich (19LE).
The Shish Taouk Meal features two skewers of heavily marinated, including pomegranate molasses, chicken breast cubes, French fries, saj bread, Tomeya and coleslaw. The portion of chicken is very generous, and is hands down the most flavorsome Shish Taouk in town. While the French fries are just about average and the coleslaw decent, the Tomeya is phenomenal, and combining all together into the saj bread creates an incredible bite.
The Meat Shawerma Fattah fared just as well. Again, the portion was very generous, the slices of beef shawerma just the right amount of crispy and the well cooked basmati rice combined with crunchy bread and the tomeya created another winning mix.
The Kofta Sandwich, featuring parsley, tehina, onions and pickles, was also a hit, thanks to the tasty tehina and delectable and perfectly cooked kofta that fell apart before you even bit into it.
The extra order of Yellow Basmati Rice and Coleslaw, which we had ordered in fear of not getting full, both surprised us in their portions in that they could feed up to three people.
While there is no option to dine in at Khayrat El Sham’s Maadi branch, such good food may actually be best indulged in at home. We’ve tried so many Syrian and Lebanese restaurants, even those of a much higher caliber when it comes to presentation and the venue itself, but few churn out food as good as Khairat El Sham.