It’s not a secret that a lot of Syrian supermarkets, food outlets, and restaurants have been opening in the 6th of October and Sheikh Zayed areas recently. It’s only natural that we would give some of those places a try, and when we stumbled upon Kasr El Shark, the venue looked new and tempting to try.
The restaurant has two floors; the downstairs area looks like the kitchen area, whereas upstairs is the seating area – surrounded by glass so you can get a view of the world outside. Rather empty for lunchtime, it was only us, until another table became occupied. We took a long look at the extensive menu; everything seemed mouthwatering, but we eventually decided. For starters, we ordered one Fattoush Salad (40LE) – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, onions, and pieces of fried bread. We also got the Hummus with Meat (55LE) and Moutabel (25LE) – eggplants, tahini, molasses and olive oil. The fattoush and moutabel were quite good; tasty, flavourful, and the ingredients were fresh. The hummus, on the other hand, wasn’t particularly delicious; it needed more seasoning, lemon juice, and the meat could have been better spiced – it was an average dish.
There were a lot of things to choose from when it came to mains; oven-baked tajines, fatteh, manasef, grills and even a Western cuisine section, which includes cordon bleu, fried chicken, and piccata slices. The too many options were a little baffling, but we decided to stick to the local side of the menu. We opted for Potato with Coriander and Garlic (35LE) – which seemed, more or less, like Batata Harra.
We also got one Eggplant Fatteh (45LE) – yoghurt-smothered eggplants, topped with heaps of cashews. Those two dishes were beautifully presented; they were picture perfect, and the portions were fairly generous. If only the looks matched the taste with the potatoes; they were well-spiced but rather dry. However, the Fatteh was on-point; great spices, great cook on the eggplants, and the massive amounts of cashews and sumac on top really gave it an amazing taste.
All those side dishes were relatively filling, that’s why we chose to get only one main to share. We found the Kasr El Shark Kebab Meal (140LE) – 300gm of grilled kofta with pistachio, and we went for it. As the staff described this dish, we were amazed by the 16-spice blend with pistachio in the kofta. So we were expecting a lot, which unfortunately wasn’t what we were served. The plate looked pleasing with all the pistachios popping out of the kofta, yet we can’t even taste one spice that was in this meat. It utterly lacked seasoning. We didn’t finish the dish because there was nothing to pick it up; even though the quality of the meat was good, and the pistachios were abundant, one cannot serve unseasoned meat – it’s a big no.
We were told that the desserts were unavailable at the time, as they were still working on them. But nicely enough, the staff offered us free samples – we didn’t know the name exactly, but it was tasty. It was a rosewater cheese roll up with pistachio powder and had the right amount of sugar to balance the meal. All in all, the food needed more work and better attention to the flavours, because after all, we could tell that the ingredients were of good quality, just not used to their full potential.