Tom & Basal: Disappointing Egyptian Food in Nasr City
Trying the local cuisine is an inextricable part of
you haven’t completely comprehended the nature of Egyptians until you have
tried the food that has been passed on from generation to generation.
Tom & Basal is a local restaurant chain that
serves up traditional Egyptian food for jaw-dropping prices. Don’t get this
wrong; you can feed up to eight people for less than 100LE, which – given the
sky-high prices of Cairo – is a bargain.
With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, tables overlook
the street and customers can enjoy their meals while witnessing the hustle and
bustle of Nasr City’s daily life and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Perhaps the restaurant is better suited for families
with kids yelling and laughing adding to the cosiness of the atmosphere. Tom
& Basal is your-run-of-the-mill, wallet-friendly but not diet-friendly
Every table has a pre-served jar of water, which had tomato
sauce smears at the time of this reviewer’s visit. The water had floating black bits, which can only make you guess
how many greasy-handed customers have used it. So, we decided that we weren’t
Tom and Basal is famous for its koshary, which was
surprisingly disappointing. Apart from the scarce presence of rice that should
dominate a big chunk of a typical koshary dish, the macaroni was overcooked. For
an extra 1.25LE, you can add more ta’leya (fried onion), black lentil or
chickpea. You can choose from several sizes with prices starting at 4LE. Tom
& Basal just proves to this reviewer that nothing beats home-cooked koshary.
With a hefty menu of savoury and sweet fiteer to
choose from, in medium and large sizes, we ordered local Roumi cheese filling
for our fiteer (15LE), which was cooked with green pepper, olive and chopped
tomatoes. It was deliciously greasy and scrumptiously fattening – molten butter
dripped as we ate.
We also tried the powdered sugar fiteer (4LE), which
was immensely greasy and had us worried about our cholesterol. It smelled
heavily of butter and had us dizzy with the prospect of oncoming calories. We
had to literally scrape the butter off in hopes of the fiteer being more merciful
on our stomachs. Although we ordered the medium-sized fiteer, it was too big
for one person to polish off.
The service was relatively slow. It took about 45
minutes for our fiteer to arrive and the only thing worse than an angry
customer is a hungry customer.
As for dessert, we opted out altogether. Although rice
pudding with nuts (3.25LE) seemed tantalising, we couldn’t risk a food coma.