Abdel Wahab: Ramadan Fetar Banquet in Zamalek
Famous among Cairo restaurants for its traditional Lebanese dishes and Nile-side location, Abd El Wahab’s restaurant at Club 33 in Zamalek seemed like a safe choice as somewhere to avoid disappointment over fetar. Unfortunately, the venue severely lacked Ramadan decorations, though their river view was as mesmerising as ever. As instructed, we arrived around twenty-five minutes early to pre-order our main courses.
Their set menu is suitable to share between four people (148LE+), starting with achoice between vegetable or lentil soup, as well as a long list of Oriental appetisers to share. Main dishes of either mixed meat tawouk, roasted meat or roasted chicken are offered, while for dessert, a fruit platter and Oriental sweets awaited us. Several traditional juices are included in the price, namely karkade, tamr hindy, amar el din, berry juice, rose juice or soft drinks and water. Tea and coffee are also included.
Throughout the meal, we tried several drinks; sweet, thick and fruity amar el din, a bitter-sweet karkade and a delightful lemon and mint juice (18LE).
All the starters were placed on the table before the maghreb prayer call, ready for us to tuck straight into. Both the soups were delectable; the lentil soup was creamy, whilst the vegetable soup sported a substantial amount of soft vegetable chunks.
Amongst other things, the set starters included usual dips and dishes such as hommos, vine leaves and fattoush, as well as meatier dishes such as chicken liver and sogok. The bread baskets were full of fresh, baladi bread; perfect for dipping in the creamy baba ganough and hommos. The vine leaves were served cold and fresh, and our chicken liver and sogok were made using good quality meat and marinated in a tasty, rich, sharp sauce. Both the lamb and cheese sambousak are also worth mentioning, being fried to perfection.
After a while, and without warning, our main dishes were delivered. By this point, most of us were full already with plenty left over. The meat dishes were generous, with very little seasoning but good quality meats of chicken, lamb and kofta. The side of aromatic rice was also topped with shredded meat pieces.
The dessert arrived in the form of flawlessly ripened, fresh grapes and bananas. Unfortunately, the apples were out of place; slightly over-ripe and soft to the bite. Had any of us managed to eat more than a mouthful of it, the platter of Oriental pastries would have been considered particularly small, sporting just one piece of everything; basbousa, balah el sham and various other sweet treats.
The shisha menu offers all the usual flavours; we’d highly reccommend both the cantaloupe (27LE) and grape (31LE).
Abd El Wahab offers a delicious, well-organised fetar which is great value for money – you’re likely to leave with more than a few doggie bags. The location along the Nile makes the busy streets of Cairo seem like a mile away, leaving you to enjoy your meal in peace.