Khan El Khalili Restaurant: Pure Egyptian Fetar in Islamic Cairo
heart of Khan El Khalili’s winding streets is a time-worn restaurant of the same
name, sharing doorways with the equally popular Naguib Mahfouz Café. Its low arched ceilings are crisscrossed with
oriental patterns, and the gold-lined mirrors and tables lend a traditional
feel to the restaurant as the old paintings and pictures on the wall remind you
of times past.
restaurant offers a unique twist this Ramadan season and will present a
different set menu for fetar every night, with the intent of showcasing their
entire menu by the end of the month. Most items will stay the same, with the
exception of the main course, and the set price for the meal will remain at 120LE.
Ramadan drinks are in no short supply and you’ll get a serving of strong
tamr hindi, amar el din or karkadeh with your meal. Other than your choice of
soup and dessert, the menu is set. Soups include light orzo, tomato, or shin
of beef soups and you’ll have a number of traditional choices for dessert including rice
pudding, om ali, or a plate of oriental sweets.
All meals come with two bowls
of tagine. The green bean tagine was delicious, and though we’re not huge okra
fans, the okra tagine wasn’t bad either. The bowl of delicious molokheya got
the most attention from our bread, though; and combined with the numerous
dishes of hummus, mint-cucumber yogurt and dolma in addition to other
vegetables almost filled us up before our mixed meat platter arrived.
Next to a
delicate mound of seasoned rice sprinkled with raisins and nuts were a few
choice selections of lamb, beef, chicken, and kofta, making the main platter
very filling. Unfortunately, every single piece of meat (except for the kofta)
was slightly dry, making the experience a little less appetising than it should
have looked forward to dessert a bit more had it not been carelessly set on a
table near us about halfway through our meal, leaving us painfully aware that it was unlikely to be fresh. The rice pudding was completely covered with coconut shavings
and nuts, making it a bit of a challenge to reach the pudding itself, and the
selection of oriental sweets included only five very small, and seemingly very
old pieces of konafa and atayef.
It was a disappointing ending to the meal, but the tea, which you need to make sure that you remember to ask for, made up for it.