Ebn El Balad: Popular Alexandrian Restaurant Shaping-Up to Be a Hit in Cairo
Mall of Egypt (overlooking the fountain)
10:00 - 00:00
The only place to rival Cairo’s ever-expanding cuisine would be Alexandria’s; natives of the northern seaside town have always taken pride in their food, with everything from Alban Swisra to Balbaa being some of the most popular names on its dining scene. With a diverse selection of options to choose from, there’s almost nothing you can’t find, but an Alexandrian restaurant expanding to Cairo is rare.
Boasting a venue overlooking the dancing fountain at Mall of Egypt, Ebn El Balad has done exactly that. With a stylish classical design, the indoor area has salon styled seats where beige and brown is the colour theme, while a more comfortable, relaxed setting in the outdoor area.
To kick things off, we opted for the Sausage with Pomegranate Molasses (71LE) and Kobeba (46LE) as our appetisers, alongside our drinks, the Submarine (54LE) and the Strawberry Kiwi (46.50LE).
As part of the cover charge, (18LE) we were first served with a plate of each of tahini, baba ghanoug, chickpeas, beetroot, and four loaves of shami bread. The tahini and baba ghanoug were amazing and full of creamy, rich flavour, while the beetroot had a nice sweetness to it to contrast the rest, all of which were made even better by the warm, soft and fresh shami bread.
Coming as four pieces, the kobeba was bursting with aroma and after biting into it, the beef had even more to offer with plenty of oriental spices. As for the sausages, they came as seven finger-sized pieces swimming in pomegranate molasses in a small pan. The sweet molasses was a perfect compliment to the beefy sausages, making it one of the highlights of the meal.
As for our main dishes we ordered the Fried Duck (150LE) and the Shish Tawouk (103.50LE) with a side of Potato Cubes (32LE) and Curry Rice with Mushrooms (32LE) as sides.
Arriving as a half roast duck with a side of rokak and oven mixture rice topped with raisins, the duck itself was gamy without being bitter and cooked to a juicy tenderness. Perfectly seasoned with sweet undertones, the rice was a pleasant side, as was the side of soft-layered rokak stuffed with minced beef.
Served with slices of green bell pepper and onions, the seven pieces of shish tawouk were mostly dark meat, but were grilled to perfection with fantastic scorch marks giving it a smoky aftertaste. Mixed with pieces of mushroom, onion and raisins, the curry rice was very well seasoned with refreshing and tasty curry aromas. Topped with fresh coriander, meanwhile, the potatoes were cooked with herbs, making for a simple but tasty side.
The food was, all round, great, but what really clinched it was the hospitality, generosity and attention to details, with the staff making us feel like royalty. Throw in a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere, it all delivered on Ebn El Balad’s promise of a homey dining experience. Plus, now you know where to go if next time you’re in Alexandria.