3enab: Casual Sohour & Shisha in Zamalek
Drawing close to the end of Ramadan, restaurants and cafés have all but given up on sohour. We headed to 3enab in Zamalek for some shisha and one last midnight feast. Surprisingly, there were no Ramadan decorations to speak of; the minimalist, slightly uncomfortable interior was left intact.
Despite being advertised, none of the traditional Ramadan juices were available, causing us to order from their wide-ranging drinks menu. Our choices included banana with milk (15.95LE), a watermelon smoothie (20.95LE) and a ‘so fresh cocktail’ (11.95LE); the latter of which was supposed to be a mixture of peach, pineapple and apple juice but transpired to be Sprite, mint leaves and sweet apple syrup. Despite our protests, the waiter seemed adamant that this was the drink we ordered. Our watermelon smoothie was also disappointing, being bland and under-ripe, whilst on the flip-side, the banana milk was both airy and flavourful.
For sohour, both the extensive à la carte menu is offered, as well as a smaller, specialised menu offering several variations of traditional dishes. Out of a range foul and omelettes, we went for foul with salsa (24LE), a plain omelette (15LE), and an omelette with pastrami (25LE), as well as their only dipping salad on offer, cheese with tomato (15LE). From the à la carte menu we picked a hamburger (42.95LE) and grilled corn on the cob (29.95LE).
The food took an incredibly long time to arrive, probably a little under an hour. However, we took the time to sample a tasty peach shisha (20LE) and one of their pricey cantaloupe shishas (40LE) which was, admittedly, deliciously fruity and smooth, but decidedly not worth double. The air conditioning didn’t appear to be working either, which left us a little hot and bothered.
Eventually our food arrived alongside warm, small pieces of soft baladi bread, which went well with our strong-tasting, creamy cheese and fresh tomato dip. The foul was tasteless, unseasoned and lacking even a hint of said salsa; we even asked for some tehina to mix in, but it never materialised. Unfortunately our omelettes were nothing short of vile, tasting of just grease and salt, with some of the pieces of pastrami looking suspiciously on the grey side. Our dessert of natural yoghurt (20LE) was both predictable and refreshing.
From the main menu, our hamburger fared much better, and although it was small, it was moist, thick and juicy, served alongside a small portion of chunky, wedge fries. The corn on the cob was also soft and delectable, but smothered in an excessive amount of creamy sauce.
Unfortunately we were thoroughly unimpressed with their simple sohour offerings, surprising given that the food from the à la carte menu was much less offensive. The drinks menu is also a hit or miss, however, we would recommend their shishas.