Taboon: Zamalek Restaurant Relaunches as ‘Urban Lebanese Kitchen’
Almost a year ago, Cairo 360 reviewed Lebanese restaurant, Taboon; a review that raised every question there is to be raised when it comes to assessing a restaurant and found it lacking.
Since then, however, the Zamalek restaurant has been through a major transformation that claimed to have tackled the previous review’s many issues. Naturally, a revisit was in order.
Relocated to Abul Feda Street, the new Taboon – described as an urban Lebanese kitchen – boasts a more cheerful setting with sunflower yellow walls with a number of turquoise shelves, scattered framed mirrors and a wide LCD mounted across them. The indoor tables are made of light wood, while the outdoor tables are black. with both areas populated with orange and black metal chairs.
The menu has a wide selection of items to choose from. There are several breakfast options such as hummus and yoghurt fattah (22LE), fava and falafel (35 LE) and eggs (35 LE). Other than that, the rest of the items are exactly what you’d expect; cold mezzes (10L–25LE), hot mezzes (8LE–30LE), salads (25LE–35 LE) and, of course, grill items.
Unfortunately, there were several items unavailable at the time of our visit, including desserts and shawerma. With other options plentiful, however, we opted for fatayer bel jebneh (20LE) as a starter; white cheese rolled in sambousak pastry. Though the dough was light and crispy, the cheese filling was devoid of any seasoning, while the sharp taste of black seeds didn't add much as they were only present on both ends of each roll.
For the main courses, we opted for sish tawook and Kofta orfaly (55LE each). Each meal is served with Basmati rice, batatah harra (spicy baked potato cubes), pickles and Lebanese bread. The shish tawook was cooked to perfection; the chicken pieces were juicy, flavoursome and sufficiently soaked in the well-balanced marinade of olive oil and lemon juice.
Unfortunately, the other main course was the exact opposite; said to be grilled with a special mix of green pepper and onion, the kofta barely had any flavour thanks, once again, to an almost complete lack of seasoning. It’s a shame, because it was cooked very well.
Of the included sides, the spicy baked potato cubes were a success; soft and tender beneath the crispy crust, the cubes were well-seasoned and subtly spicy without being too hot. The Basmati rice didn’t fare as well, however; it was bland, tasteless and under-cooked.
Though there was plenty to be displeased about, Taboon has improved in terms of service and hygiene; yet with small mistakes ruining the dishes, there’s little to make the restaurant stand out amongst the increasing number of Lebanese eateries in Cairo.