Abou Heidar: Unique Shawerma & Traditional Juices in Heliopolis
The more traditional restaurants in Cairo never fail to bring back memories of yester-year, drawing us in with their ‘eat on your feet’ charm. Largely famous for its popular shawerma and mango juice, we headed to Roxy’s time-honoured restaurant, Abou Heidar, with plans to delve deeper into their surprisingly eclectic menu.
We headed upstairs to their small, stuffy seating area on the second floor; it was soon evident why this place is better for take-out. Aside
from shawerma, the menu boasts a selection of Alexandrian liver, sogo’, Dawood Basha kofta, burgers, sausages, fried chicken and roomy cheese – all of which are served in burger buns (6LE), Syrian bread (16LE) or large French bread (20LE-25LE). Also on offer was Lebanese kobeiba (6LE), salads and pickles (4LE), or pasta with beef béchamel and a side of turley (8.5LE) – a small tomato based tagine of egg plant, potatoes, courgettes and string beans, that one might compare to ratatouille.
An unfortunate and peculiar absence of chicken shawerma led us to order one large beef shawerma (16LE), a plate of Alexandrian liver (6LE), pasta béchamel (8.25LE) and pickles (4LE). After enquiring about the salad, we were told we’d have to wait quite a while whilst it was freshly chopped – and we waited with no avail.
With a long standing reputation for also offering delicious juices, one fresh orange (6.5LE) and a mango juice (7.5LE) took our fancy and both turned out to be even better than we’d anticipated. Both were evidently made with the ripest and sweetest of fruits.
Wrapped in fluffy, freshly baked bread, the shawerma meat-mix was both unique and delectable, combining garlic, tomato, vinegar with an unusual addition of fresh, flavourful mint. The meat was a little fattier than preferred, though the succulent Alexandrian liver dish made up for it. Although perfectly acceptable, there was certainly nothing exceptional about the pasta béchamel or its misfit side of turley.
Despite quick and attentive service, we wouldn’t recommend eating in – standing on the street with some of the best shawerma in Heliopolis is the best approach – you know what they say; when in Rome!