Abdo Tlawoth: Meat-Lovers’ Haven in Mohandiseen
Ahmed El Dahan
Amongst the plethora of firmly established eateries and restaurants in Cairo, there’s a culture of self-made, successful restaurateurs. A prominent example is Abo Tlawoth; a cart-pushing Cairene who recently went from selling sogo’ and liver sandwiches on the side-walk of Nasr city, to owning not one, but two restaurants in Cairo.
Escaping from the chaotic Gameat El Dowal Street, we headed to the upstairs seating area of the Sphinx Sqaure branch. It was much more spacious than we’d expected and with brightly decorated tables big enough to accommodate large groups, we were more than comfortable. Conveniently placed, each table had a stack of menus to get us well on our way to making an order.
Given this restaurant’s humble origins, their expansion is reflected in the impressive variety of dishes on the menu, with none of them costing over 20LE. Sandwich classics include Alexandrian sogo’(5LE), liver (5LE), grilled kofta (8LE), chicken crunchy (12LE) More unusual creations included Abdo’s Dream (8LE), the Abdo Tlawoth Special (12LE), Abdo Texas (15LE) and Nostalgia Meshenkah (7LE).
A friendly waiter happily explained to us that the latter was a specially prepared sogo’ sandwich; it’s boiled and then fried, before being topped with sauce and parsley. The Abdo’s Dream was another interesting mixture of sogo’, vegetables and cheese. We also came to learn that the Abdo Tlawoth Special sandwich (12LE) is made with less-salty-than-usual herring served with tehina, whilst the Abdo Texas (15LE) is an Egyptian attempt at chilli-cheese fries with an additional sausage mix.
A little puzzled by the variety of choices, we eventually decided on one plate of Turkish Pacha with pasta (15LE), Alexandrian and Turkish sogo’ sandwiches (5LE), and the Nostalgia Meshenkah (7LE). We also wanted to try the cheese pastries (10LE) which were unavailable at the time of our visit.
The orders arrived in no time, served slightly unappealing Styrofoam plates which did little justice to the generously stuffed loaves of fino bread. But all it took was one bite to remedy any issues; for just 5LE we were eating soft, fresh bread with a strong beef flavoured filling which was complimented by a dash of spices. Both the Alexandrian and Turkish sogo’s, though slightly more unusual, were winners. The Turkish Pacha pasta was a little overcooked, but was saved by its tomato sauce and messy but delicious mixture of beef with ‘secret’ spices.
For dessert, we treated ourselves to a Sakalance 5×1 (8LE). Made to test the strongest of pancreases, this sandwich is packed with halva, honey, jam, oriental cream and chocolate sauce. As appealing as it sounds to the sweet-toothed, it lacked balance; dominated by the halva, we couldn’t taste any of the other ingredients.
With its wide variety of traditional and more creative meaty options, Abdo Tlawoth is highly likely to satisfy just about anyone’s carnivorous side. To all the struggling vegetarians in Cairo, be sure to check this one out on your day off.