Ahlein: Fetar by the Manial Corniche
70, Abdel Aziz al Saoud St.
the Nile Lilly boat in Manial next to Sky Lounge and the Happy Dolphin, Ahlein recently
celebrated its grand opening and it’s a shame that this beautiful venue
couldn’t have hosted more patrons on its first night. With the exception of a
small party going on outside, the restaurant only served two tables during this
lavender crushed velvet seats and candlelit tables make a wonderful setting for
the Nile view through the large glass windows. Though the large benches are set
a bit too far away from the tables, they aren’t uncomfortable and the distance
problem can be solved by pulling the table close when no one is looking.
offers a set fetar menu at 150LE, which allows two or three options for each of
its five courses. The amar el din is thick and delicious and the karkadeh is on
the sour side, but in a good way. Perhaps because of the sparse crowd that
evening, no khoshaf was available, though it is listed on the menu.
soup is interestingly listed on the Arabic side of the menu as chicken soup,
but we did not have the opportunity to figure out which it was as it was not
available that night. However, the tomato soup is a nice alternative and
we hardly had time to finish it before the hot and cold mezzas were served.
With some fresh sambousak and dolma next to a neatly wrapped miniature Lebanese
man’oucheh, we could have been full and happy without the main course.
foukhar is a large dish filled to the brim with savoury chunks of lamb and
eggplant drowned in a creamy béchamel sauce. The sauce-to-meat ratio might be a
little overwhelming, but the dish is delicious nonetheless. The mixed grill
also features a variety of meats all cooked to perfection and is an equally
prides itself on its unique desserts, which include mango mahalabeya, peach
caramel konafa with ice cream, cranberry om ali, and a karkadeh crème brûlée.
While we appreciate the creative twist, sticking chunks of mango in a regular
mahalabeya covered with mango syrup isn’t exactly groundbreaking, and we
suggest that the karkadeh crème brûlée be renamed the karkadeh custard; as
it lacks any resemblance to the caramel-encrusted dessert. Although
they were not exactly what we had expected, the desserts were quite good and we
can’t wait to try the other two.
Ahlein had hosted a few more guests, the evening would have been lovely. We
expect that with their delicious food and prompt service, this won’t be too
difficult in the future.