Battaw: Traditional Egyptian Cuisine with ‘Twists’ That Actually Work
On the surface, Battaw might seem like another overpriced Oriental restaurant that plays heavily on the nostalgia that its concept is built on. But, actually, it’s quite the opposite; from Pumpkin Kebbeh and Quinoa Tabbouleh, to Sweet Potato Tahini and Mehalabeya Cheesecake, we couldn’t help but be impressed by their unique twists on traditional dishes.
Located on Heliopolis’ busy Merghany Street, you’ll easily notice Battaw thanks to its gigantic blue door. Battaw’s ambiance perfectly matches its creative and subtle menu; from the simple touches of wood and cold colour palates in its furniture and decor, to the exposed kitchen and feteer stations, it all builds to a chilled and unfussy atmosphere that extends to an outdoor area, too.
While checking the menu, we kept ourselves busy with the Sweet Potato Tahini (30LE). The tahini is mixed with sweet potato puree to form a highly addictive dip which has a hummus-like consistency that’s nutty, sweet and sticky. Who would’ve thought tahini and sweet potato would be a perfect match?
After the delicious start, we opted for the Sausage (55LE) as an appetiser, and the Shish Tawook (85LE) and Kabab Halla (125LE) as our mains.
With the addition of the colourful peppers and cherry tomato, the homemade sausage couldn’t get any better. Pine nuts added a beautiful crunch, while the pomegranate molasses and sautéed onions added a fantastic sweetness which was balanced perfectly with a coriander-infused butter. Not only was the dish bursting with flavours, but the sausage itself had a perfect texture and it even looked delicious – which is hard to achieve with sausage.
Moving to the Shish Tawook, it was presented like an open-face taco on baladi bread and served with a mini bowl of super smooth and flavourful tommeya dip and a side of potato wedges sprinkled with dukka and onion strings. The charcoaled shish tawook was perfectly cooked, super tender and had a slightly zesty flavour that we really enjoyed.
As for the Kabab Halla, it was a simple stew that consists of veal cubes, potatoes, onions, and carrots swimming in brown beef sauce bursting with spices flavours, and served with plain white rice. The dish was overall seasoned-well and it was Egyptian comfort food at its best, but the quality of the veal impressed us the most.
We finished our meal with Berry Mix Feteer (70LE) for dessert. The perfectly made homemade feteer – which is a layered pastry with a flaky top – is dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a ring of custard surrounding simmered mixed berries placed in the middle so you can take the desired amount to spread on your slice. Besides the portion being more than enough for four people, this dessert is a must try if you’re into creamy and fruity desserts.
All in all, there was little to complain about at the time of our visit to Battaw. We loved the ambiance, the decor and the choice of music, but it was the food that really impressed. The unique twists gave traditional dishes one-of-a-kind flavours that are worth paying the high prices for.