Cok Güzel: Turkish Delicacies in Cairo Festival City Mall
The Village, Cairo Festival City
10AM - 12AM
Aya El Garhy
If there’s one thing people coming back from Turkey rave about, it’s their rich and vast food culture – it’s a cuisine that is rare on the Cairo dining scene and so news of Turkish restaurant, Cok Güzel, opening in New Cairo, had us intrigued/
Sporting a huge venue with an outdoor balcony overlooking the fountain and a smaller indoor seating area, Cok Güzel is located in Cairo Festival City Mall’s outdoor food-court, the Village. Drawing inspiration from Ottoman design, the decor and furniture is comfortable in every sense, using off-whites, beiges and touches of natural wood. The real attraction, however, are the huge, elegant chandeliers that hang from the high ceilings.
The menu, despite featuring photos – a no-no for high-end restaurants – offers an impressive selection of dishes covering soups, salads, cold & hot appetisers, baked pastries, and main dishes.
Anyone who’s indecisive when it comes to ordering food will find it difficult to choose – especially with some of the more indecipherable names on the menu. We eventually opted for the Sicak mezze Karişik (110LE) from the hot appetisers section, Peynir li Pastirma Pide (38LE) from the Pastries section, and for the mains we had the Dŏner Iskander Kebab (65LE) and the Saray Osulu tavuk (75LE) – more explanation to come on exactl what the dishes are.
Our appetiser platter was served a mere fifteen minutes later, alongside a basket of mixed fresh bread. The platter featured three of the most famous Turkish starter; fried liver with caramelized onions, spring rolls, and mini kofta rolls. The fried liver was delicious, cooked perfectly and was surprisingly short of grease and oil, while the juicy, tender kofta was cooked just as well and was served in a rich-tasting tomato based sauce with crushed peanuts – which was undeniably delicious with the fresh Turkish bread. Our favourite, however, were the spring rolls; stuffed with lots of cheese, pastrami and peppers, it was full of flavours and textures/
The Pide arrived shortly after; a huge boat shaped pastry topped generously with mixed cheese and thin slices of pastrami. To say it was incredible would be an understatement; the dough was light and delicious and even more so when combined with good pastrami and cheese.
The Dŏner Iskander Kebab, meanwhile, came as thin slices of lamb on top of fried bread cubes along with a yoghurt sauce; the meat was very well seasoned despite being a tad dry, while the bread was moistened by all the succulent juices of the meat. The yoghurt sauce complemented the tender pieces of meat very well. The Saray Osulu tavuk featured half a chicken grilled to perfection and stuffed with flavoursome rice similar to the one Egyptians stuff into pigeons; needless to say it was incredible – cooked and seasoned to perfection.
In addition to the outstanding food, service was very much on-point – the staff were very friendly and attended to our every need, while the atmosphere was calming and took us over to the Osmanly Era with the soothing Turkish background music. Despite the prices being a bit steep, the portions were definitely satisfactory and this reviewer would have no qualms in returning to Cok Güzel.