Maharaja: Hidden Indian Gem in Rehab City
Commercial Market (off Ahmed Ben Hanbal St.)
Sara Abdel Aziz
As the summer heat takes its toll on us these days, our palate yearned for cuisine that is exotic and refreshing. Thus, when hush-hush news reached us of an Indian restaurant hidden in Rehab City, the thought of tangy spices and lassi sent us quickly over to Maharaja to satisfy our yearnings.
Located right next to Dominos Pizza, we admit the location wasn’t the easiest to find; however, once seated and eating, we quickly discovered that the restaurant could easily hold us as happy hostages.
We started off with a refreshing mango lassi (15LE) that was an ideal combination of mango and yogurt with hints of coconut flakes as well as pistachio.
As we waited for the food, we took the chance to study Maharaja’s atmosphere; the restaurant itself is spacious, with mahogany tables and colourful portraits of Siva’s life on the walls. Music came from a large flat-screen TV that played catchy Bollywood songs and videos – we were also rather taken with the coral clay cups and plates on which we dined.
What’s quite interesting is that Maharaja’s meticulously attentive waiters, personnel and the restaurant owner himself, all seemed to be Syrian.
We dug into our piping hot vegetable samosa, which we ate with mint sauce and a generous selection of bread: tikka naan, garlic naan and paneer naan (10LE each). The naan, particularly the garlic, was hands down some of the best we had in Cairo as it had the perfect balance of chewiness and crunchiness, and was perfect for unabashedly dipping into the sauces of our main dishes.
Said main courses consisted of murgh makhani (35LE) – a truly heavenly dish consisting of chicken served in a sauce of tomato purée, buttered spices and yogurt – as well as a tasty kalimirchi tikka dish (35LE).
Feeling random, we also decided to give the dal maharaja (30LE) a go and did not regret it in the least; the yellow lentils, cooked with garlic and ginger, were warm and delectable. On the side, we ordered plain biryani rice (20LE) and kashmiri pulao (35LE), which were both fragrant and light.
To end our flavoursome meal, we were offered delightful complimentary coconut ice-cream, which was presented in a miniature coconut shell with shavings of nuts on the side.
Overall, our dining experience at Maharaja left us extremely satisfied with the food, the quick attentive service and the ambiance. Furthermore, we ended up paying a mere 250LE for food that could’ve easily fed a party of four rather than just two. Scrumptious, affordable and efficient, Maharaja’s definitely not to be missed.