Hadramout El Horreya: Small Yemeni Restaurant in Maadi
6A Road 100
11AM - 12AM
Gaser El Safty
There’s a copycat phenomena in Egypt when it comes to restaurants. Where the origin comes from is unknown, but for some absurd reason, half the shawerma vendors in Egypt are called Abu Mazen, and the other half are called Abu—insert random male name here.
Shawerma isn’t the only type of food that suffers from this phenomenon, Mandi, the Yemeni equivalent of Fatta, made from chicken or lamb suspended in a special kind of oven and served with rice, is originally from the Yemeni city of Hadramout, and so it has been doomed for the rest of existence that any restaurant ever to serve Mandi in Egypt will call itself Hadramout—even though Mandi is also common in Sana’a, but whatever.
In Maadi, one of the many replicas is called Hadramout El Horreya, located near El Horreya Square. The menus in these restaurants are identical, there are chicken, lamb and ties options and they can be cooked either with the Mandi method—steaming the meat and rice with spices, nuts, and fruits— or the regular grilled method called Mazbi.
The restaurants themselves are usually either take-out or offer a very unimpressive dine-in experience. This was no exception; the small venue is decorated with unsettling pink wallpaper.
We opted for a Half Mandi Chicken (27LE) and Kabsa with Meat (52LE). Serving time was rather slow, but seeing as how it’s slow cooked food, we weren’t bothered. The seasoning usually gives Chicken Mandi a pinkish hue, so if you’re trying Mandi for the first time, don’t be alarmed. The problem wasn’t the colour but rather the flavour, or lack thereof.
The tasty yellow basmati rice lacked any dried fruit or nuts, which was disappointing, but it was served with a spicy mixture of tomatoes, pepper and onions (think pico de gallo put in a blender) that gives the rice a whole new dimension of flavour.
The Meat Kabsa was a different story, made with flavorsome lamb meat that when cooked slowly takes away the chewiness of lamb that most find unappealing. The meat ended up tender and bursting with flavour, while the basmati rice with the kabsa featured raisins and the same spicy tomato mixture.
All in all, the experience was decent food wise, but unimpressive dining wise. The staff is friendly but no amount of good service can make up for an unpleasant venue. The prices, on the other hand, are very affordable which makes a decent meal of real food a reality in a region of Cairo that focuses more on exotic and quirky cuisines. They also offer to cook lamb, turkey and ties for you, as is customary with all the other Hadramouts.