Kazlak: Maadi Restaurant Continues to Raise the Bar for Local Dining Scene
Inside the Courtyard
From burgers and gourmet Oriental food, to Lebanese restaurants and everything chocolate; the food industry in Egypt started to become a little bit repetitive and it’s obvious that many restaurateurs are looking to play it safe and follow trends. However, grill house and smokery, Kazlak, is one restaurant that took a risk by going in a different direction than any other restaurant in Egypt.
Kazlak’s concept is all about the simple local products used in innovative ways. Their plates are brought from El Fostat, almost every single ingredient you’ll eat is home grown and even the wooden pizza pans are made from trees in Halayeb and Shalateen.
Located inside the Courtyard in Maadi, Kazlak is surrounded by mostly cafes and casual diners, so it stands out with its simple yet chic interior. From the simple touches of wood studs, the stone wall and the curtain wall facade overlooking the Courtyard stage, to the live pizza station and the fantastic choice of colours, the whole place has a village house-like interior, boasting a chilling and relaxing ambiance in a simple yet elegant way.
Let’s get down to business; we kicked things off with Sparkling Strawberry (27LE) and complimentary fresh toasted bread with garlic dip. The drink was a simple mix strawberry juice mixed with sparkling club soda, but was super refreshing and had a perfect ratio of juice to soda.
For our appetisers, we went with Shrimp & Bisk Espuma (44LE); a mixture of baby shrimp and caramelised onion with a hint of shrimp bisque, all covered with smooth potato mousse. Boasting similar flavours to an onion soup, the mixture had a gravy-like consistency that worked perfectly with the potato mousse, and the little drizzle of balsamic vinegar complimented the dish with its sweet and acidic touch.
We also tried the Three-Layered Beef Potato Salad (47LE); beef slices infused with peanut butter sauce laying over potato salad and topped with shredded lettuce, beef bacon, black olive and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. With an impressive diversity in textures and flavours, the potato salad didn’t have that overpowering mayonnaise taste to it and the potato had a little bite to it, while the beef bacon was bursting with balsamic vinegar flavours, and everything just tasted so fresh. However, the peanut butter sauce – possibly the most interesting element of the dish – was overshadowed by the rest of the flavours.
Moving to the mains, we opted for the Duck Two Way (120LE). Despite the fact that we were served two pieces of duck cooked in the same way with a side of gnocchi and ginger glaze which made us feel like it was more of a mix-and-match duck platter, we enjoyed every bit of this dish.
The perfectly cooked breast on its own had great flavours, but the hint of sweetness and the ginger pieces in the ginger glaze took the duck to a whole new level of deliciousness. The duck leg, meanwhile, was super tender and just as delicious as the breast, while the zesty gnocchi in the creamy lemon sauce worked well as a side.
We also tried the Short Ribs (130LE), which were served with a side of super cheesy and gooey bowl of Mac and Cheese and perfectly cooked sautéed vegetables spiced with sweet basil. The fall-off-the-bone beef short ribs, meanwhile, had an out-of-this-world smoky flavour due to the slow smoking method, and the fried onion on top and BBQ sauce on the side just boosted the smokiness and sweetness of the beef. The whole dish was flawless and showed a lot of skill in the kitchen.
We then finished our meal with Hot Chocolate Mousse (31LE). Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a separate cup, the hot chocolate mousse was like a volcano of luscious dark chocolate with a super gooey centre and soft, cakey edges, but we felt that the ice cream didn’t really add much, especially that the gooey centre had a similar texture to melted ice cream.
All in all, we were incredibly impressed, not only by the food, but also by Kazlak’s strong identity and clear level of quality – a level that all restaurants should aim to achieve.