El Hanafeya: Great Food & Chilled Atmosphere at The Tap East
Stella Di Mare Compund, Mohamed Naguib St.
When people think of Ramadan in Cairo, The Tap East isn’t the first place to come to mind. But now in its second year, the New Cairo bar’s ‘tent’, El Hanafeya, has emerged as a good option for those looking for a cosy sohour gathering.
In terms of atmosphere, the Tap East offered a relaxed feel with a Ramadan twist – festive lights and lanterns decorate the outdoor area, while khayameya table cloths adorn the tables. At the time of our visit, it wasn’t exactly busy but there were an eclectic range of guests. A couple with an infant, a few young ladies on a girl’s night out, a bunch of guys hanging out and a large table with ten people having fun while listening to some Oriental tunes over the speakers.
We took a booth and ordered the sohour buffet for 150LE per person – which is great value for money compared to other places this Ramadan – although there are other a la carte options.
Although El Hanafeya has a standard open buffet set-up the salads are delivered to your table alongside a basket of toasted shamy and pita bread;labnah with beetroot, fattoush, baba ghanough, taboula, eggplant with tomatoes, Greek youghurt, tahiniand Egyptian pickles (torshy).
The labnah had a great tanginess to it that worked perfectly withthe beetroot’s sweetness, the fattoush was crisp and refreshing and the baba ghanoughtasted fresh and was seasoned perfectly.
Thetaboulah, meanwhile,had a nice hint of mint to it, though the tahini was a little too salty.
From a selection of Ramadan drinks we chose sobia which came in a long glass with some ice, was refreshing, sweet and smooth making at a perfect accompanying drink.
We quickly made our way to the small open buffet where we found sambousak –with cheese or pastrami – cheese rolls, a foul station, an eggs station, falafel and, finally,ashawerma station.
The sambousak were crunchy and filled with gooey, creamy, melted cheese, while a different one had chunks of pastrami that were juicy and flavourful.
With several options at the eggs station, we opted for the pastrami omelette which was nicely cooked and had generous chunks of pastrami in it that gave the dish a nice salty aftertaste.At the foul station, we opted for a simple foul with butter, which had a nice smooth texture with a buttery aftertaste and didn’t need any extra seasoning. As for the falafel, they had a crunchy outer shell with a tender core that was very well seasoned, and wee fried so well that they were actually quite light.
The highlight, however, was the chicken shawerma from the shawerma station.Usingkaiser bread, each sandwich is topped with toumeyah, fresh shredded lettuce and dill pickles. Every bite was heavenly with the chicken cooked to perfection while the toumeyahwas a perfect accompaniment and didn’t dominate the rest of the ingredients.
While there weren’t too many options regarding desserts, there was balah el sham and some atayef which weren’t very attractive and didn’t offer much.
The Tap East has outdone itself this year, with their attention to detail and simple but extraordinary food. With an already cosy and intimate setting, it’s a great place to lounge and relax with friends while listening to music and having a bite to eat.