Salt: Maadi Residents in Danger of Becoming Addicted to Dry-Aged Beef Burger Specialist
While some may argue that the burger trend in Cairo has become saturated, Salt has managed to find something to separate itself from the crowd, even if only slightly. The restaurant, which first opened in Heliopolis, has never claimed to be gourmet, in so many words, but its use of dry-aged beef has rightly won it many fans.
With this popularity, expansion is the logical step and it Salt has since opened in Maadi and, only just last month, at Cairo Festival City – it’s a logical step, yes, but also one that has been the death of many once promising chains. You see, quality and consistency don’t travel too well on Cairo’s dining scene and so we went to see if standards at Maadi are up to par.
Boasting outdoor and indoor areas, Salt’s new branch on Nasr Street is much bigger than the original Heliopolis branch, which is set-up more as a takeaway-style place. Diner-style neon lights and chequered floors are the name of the game at the indoor area, with rock music classics blasting inside and out.
We started with the Buffalo Wings (35LE), which had crispy skin and tender meat; however, there was barely any buffalo sauce on them. We also tried the Cheese Fries (25LE); the fries alone are fairly unremarkable, but the gooey, creamy and sharp cheese sauce was pure bliss.
The lack of buffalo sauce was again a problem with the first sandwich we tried, the Buffalo Chicken (38LE). Despite this, the perfectly-cooked golden brown chicken topped with pickles, lettuce, onions, cheese and some special sauce, was well balanced in terms of flavour, while offering a satisfying crunch with every bite. With the lack of buffalo sauce, you could argue that it was just a basic chicken sandwich, but it’d still be a great example of one.
Moving onto the burgers, the first one we tried was the XL Burger (70LE for combo); a 7 oz. patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and the restaurant’s special sauce. It’s a classic burger in every sense of the word, but this is where the dry-aged beef makes the difference. The depth of the beef flavour, as well as the amplified savouriness and sweetness, didn’t need anything more than the classic veggie toppings in being a fantastic, simple burger.
We also tried the Hot Rod Burger (55LE) which brought together pickles, grilled onions, American cheese and hot rod sauce. Again, it was fairly simple, but the smoky accents of the sauce and the earthy sweetness of the grilled onions mixed in with the dry-aged beef, all made for a great mix of flavours.
We ended with Reese’s Pizookie (40LE); a large chocolate cookie baked in a small pizza-pan-like dish that’s stuffed with peanut butter, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. Though it’s essentially large cookie, it had enough different flavours to make it a decent dessert. The subtle saltiness of the peanut butter played off of the rich, sweet chocolate well.
And so in the end, it passed the test – but only time will really tell. What we do know now is that if it isn’t already, Salt is on its way to being one of the best burger places in Cairo. Having a unique selling point that actually translates directly into the food – the dry-aged beef – means that the restaurant has achieved what followers of this trend have largely thus far failed to do.