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Under the Chef’s Hat: How Chef Mohamed El Husseiny & Tamara Elna Are Changing Lebanese Cuisine in Cairo

Under the Chef’s Hat: How Chef Mohamed El Husseiny & Tamara Elna Are Changing Lebanese Cuisine in Cairo
written by
Salma Anderson

Point 90’s Tamara Elna has quickly made a name for itself in the four months since its grand debut. The sister restaurant of Tamara Lebanese Bistro promised to stand out with its quirky take on Lebanese dishes and hip interior, and stand out it did.

As part of Mori Co’s growing repertoire of restaurants, it was always going to be in good hands. But much of the unique cuisine is owed to the man pulling the strings in the kitchen, Head Chef Mohamed El-Husseiny.

The 4.5 star-rated restaurant boasts a marvellous menu packed with genuine Lebanese eats, from Safayehto Kofta with Khishkhash, as well as dishes with a contemporary twist, such as the Halloumi Quinoa Salad.

But the best part about Elna’s cuisine according to Head Chef Mohamed El-Husseiny is that, “It’s very healthy and light—it doesn’t make you feel stuffed. We don’t use ghee or fat while cooking.”

Unlike the Egyptian take on Lebanese dishes, Elna’s food won’t leave you feeling 4kgs heavier. El-Husseiny’s Fattoush Elnas substitutes lettuce with rocca leaves, and is a medley of radishes, purple onion, cucumber, tomato, mint and grilled eggplant, topped with a drizzle of lemon-garlic dressing.

Speaking of dressing, at Tamara Elna olive oil is part of every table’s condiment caddy—much better than ketchup, we think. And when it comes to tomatoes, El-Husseiny makes his own tomato paste fresh.

You can even be party to the process; the venue features a cafeteria-like food prep station along the length of the interior, where guests can watch their food being prepared—a rare concept when it comes to sit-down dining.

“We wanted to try a new idea—cooking by the guest so they can see the chefs,” says El-Husseiny.

Due to the fact that the fresh—never frozen—meat is marinated beforehand, the chefs at Elna prepare your order within minutes. It’s faster than fast-food!

Whether you decide to dine in the industrial-themed interior or the lovely airy terrace, Elna offers a unique atmosphere that is as comfortable and inviting as it as playful to the eyes.  Beauty is not pain in this case, though, as the sage and lemon coloured chairs inside are cushy and the floral upholstery on the outdoor sofas is as pretty as it is soft.

“I can assure you, any guest who comes here will come again, and they’ll bring their friends,” says El-Husseiny.

But Tamara Elna isn’t planning to stand still and Chef El-Husseiny isn’t about to rest on his laurels – in fact he has a few new dishes in store for this summer, namely four spectacular new salads.

“I change the menu to match the season,” says El-Husseiny. “You can’t eat too-spicy food in the summer, so I make it light.”

Also happening this summer, is the addition of a 6-menu catering option, so you can enjoy Tamara Elna’s tangy treats at your next event.