Bab Tooma: Lively Syrian Restaurant in New Cairo
With new restaurants in Cairo diversifying into new and exciting cuisines every week, we don’t have to travel too far to enjoy the foods of other cultures. Similar to Cairo’s own medieval Victory Gate, Syrian restaurant, Bab Tooma, proudly attained its name from the famous ‘Thomas’ Gate’ in Damascus.
The décor of the New Cairo restaurant is also influenced by traditional Syrian tastes; however, it maintains an air of professionalism and leans toward the uniformity of international chains. Despite arriving close to midnight, we discovered that this is actually when the restaurant is at its busiest. We watched an influx of younger customers continue to arrive late into the night, turning Bab Tooma from a quiet diner into one of the liveliest, loudest hangouts in town.
The menu is varied and includes dishes influenced by recipes from all over the world. Amongst others, we found a large selection of starters, main courses, sandwiches, pastries and tagines. Rarely found in Egypt, the desserts included several classic sweet dishes from the Levantine region; Beirut Ghazl, Nabulsi konafa and halawa with cheese, as well as drinks such as rosewater and galab.
For appetizers, we dived straight in with orders of sogo’ and thyme man’oucheh (25LE) along with fried mozzarella sticks (25LE). For our mains we moved on to one four cheese (45LE), and one salami pizza (45LE) as well as a maqdous fata (45LE).
Unfortunately, the staff seemed to be overwhelmed and the first of our food was long in coming.
Unusually, the man’oucheh was cut into sheets rather than rolled, whilst the sogo’ filling was fresh and pleasant tasting. Sadly, the fried cheese was served cold and lost its crunch – and its appeal. Although far from extraordinary the pizzas were both satisfying and generously sized although the highlight of the meal came in the form of the traditional, Syrian maqdous fata – a dish made from kobba, egg plants, crispy bread and milk.
For dessert, we indulged in Beirut Ghazl (35LE) and cheese halawa (35LE).
Both the airy cheese halawa and Beirut Ghazl were much more delectable and very well made. Although similar to candyfloss, the Beirut Ghazl was topped with a range of flavourful ice-creams, adding a Lebanese twist to the dish. The cheese halawa, meanwhile, was delectably creamy and full of flavour. We had also ordered some Nabulsi konafa, but it came served almost completely frozen in the middle – twice.
Despite a number a mishaps putting a downer on our visit, we commend the number of traditional delicacies and dishes on offer. This combined with Bab Tooma’s vibrant and bubbly atmosphere means that you won’t for one moment forget that you are dining in a Syrian restaurant.