El Sid: Abou El Sid’s ‘Streatery’ Offers On-the-Go Egyptian Classics
A pioneer in Egyptian cuisine in Cairo, one that satisfies your classic home-cooking cravings, Abou El Sid latest expansion comes in the form of the shortened, El Sid; a new concept from the popular chain serving Egyptian food to-go on Mohandiseen’s busy Mossadak Street.
Unlike the dim-lit interior, classical furniture, wooden paravants and old photographs of Abou El Sid, El Sid rather has a playful retro approach to its aesthetic, with quirky Om Kolthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez statues, Farid El Atrash and Hend Rostom pillows, Misr Chocolate boxes and Sima Food products rounding off what is a fun look. The limited number of seats, the wall-attached tables and the uncharacteristic touches of red and yellow gave the atmosphere an overall casual and colourful mood befitting the ‘express’ concept.
El Sid’s menu boasts typical street eats – think shawerma, foul, taameya and feteer – as well as classics from the Egyptian kitchen including sharkaseya and molokheya. Eager to try everything on the menu, we started our meal with Moumbar Bites (23LE) as an appetiser, and as our mains, we went with Floating Kobeba (38LE) and a Tante Fajita sandwich (18LE).
Starting with the appetiser, we loved the presentation of the moumbar – rice-stuffed intestines – which was cutted into small bites pieces and served in a cup, but not so much when it came to the flavours. Though the exterior was perfectly cooked, the rice was overcooked and dry and was unseasoned to a flat, bland taste.
The floating kobeba, on the other hand, fared better, boasting the perfect amount of minced beef which was bursting with amazing flavours from the spices. Unfortunately, the sharkaseya (Circassian sauce) brought the dish down; though Abou El Sid is famous for the walnut sauce, it was watery and, again, lacked the strong flavours thanks to a lack of seasoning.
Essentially an oriental chicken fajita served in soft French bread, Tante Fajita – which we mainly picked for its catchy name — had amazing flavours with well-seasoned small chicken pieces but the sandwich overall was quite dry; the chicken pieces were too small and so were unable to retain any moisture while the lack of any kind of sauce certainly didn’t help.
We finished our meal with a mouth-watering Om Ali Feteer (33LE). Unlike traditional feteer, El Sid make their feteer like a burrito. Our order came as a beautifully flaky feteer wrap filled with all the components of Om Ali – from the nuts, to milk-soaked puff pastry – and we just loved the coconut kick we got in every bite. How could you go wrong with Om Ali and Feteer?
All in all, the service was what you’d expect from fast food chain and the prices were fair for the neat packaging and the quantities. However, El Sid doesn’t carry the same weight of the original Abou El Sid; but although some of the items needed better execution in terms of flavour, the atmosphere, and the takeout concept for Egyptian homemade food in general, made our experience nonetheless enjoyable.