Cairo Feeding Frenzy

Eight days in Cairo. What does one eat? Some Keshik or Mahshi? Maybe some Molokheyyah and Samak Mashwi? Perhaps for actual tourists... but we both know that's not what I ate. For my week in Cairo my mission was clear, burgers and kebabs. Enduring the heat, desert and general chaos around Cairo I traversed the great ancient city from eatry to eatry dodging dodgy merchants and crazy autorickshaw drivers to bring to you the finest (and possibly the worst) Cairo has to offer.

Hotel Intercontinental Room Service Burger

A staple for the traveller, the good ol trusty burger from the room service menu of any decent hotel. I've had some awesome ones in my times and it's like a tradition to staying in a hotel that the first night I'm there I try it.

Introducing the.... so here it is, in all it's Intercontinental glory. I wasn't really sure what to expect but what I got was kinda reasonable I guess. I added mushrooms and grilled red onion to it and quite frankly I think this saved the burger from an early binnage, the cheese was odd to put it simply, very strange semi hard plastic feel to it, it's taste was tolerable however, the meat was quiet dry and the bun was boring, this was a stay away burger for me.

Verdict - Pretty Filthy

Posted 05.09.2015
Chili's Cairo

The buffalo chicken burger, a simple but brilliant invention, get a deep fried chicken piece, smother it the goodness that is buffalo wing hot sauce, put it between some bread with a little mayonnaise and some lettuce. The boys at Chili's pull this off beautifully, most of the batter retains its crispiness despite being covered in that incredible hot sauce.

The chicken is moist, steaming and just delicious, the mayonnaise does not interfere and only hints its existence, something that pleases me greatly. Very happy with this buffalo chicken burger, definitely in my top five.

Verdict - Ooooooo Yeah

Posted 05.09.2015
Fuddruckers Cairo

I reckon a chain that claims to be the worlds greatest hamburgers is worth another chance, something I was more than willing to do given the proximity of Fuddruckers to the hotel and the fact the experience in Dubai really could have been tainted by incompetent staff, if you haven't read it, here it is.

I ordered two of the small size burgers, a 1/3 pound is the smallest btw. I ordered the cowboy and the tumbleweed. First comments, staff were 100 times better than in Dubai, place looked alive and smelt great, could I be in store for a great hamburger? Possibly the worlds greatest? Eaten first was the cowboy, I was skeptical here, really biased against them because of my first experience, I picked up the bum of the rather nice looking burger and was happily surprised at the soft but firm bun, after the first bite, getting that amazing onion relish laced with balsamic and a nice subtle chipotle flavour with what really was quality beef I was convinced, these guys can make a really good burger, at least in Cairo. The amazing cheddar cheese melted onto the delicious minced beef held together by the beautiful bun made anything else on the burger redundant, loved every bite.

This only made me want to get stuck into the tumbleweed even more, this burger comes on the same bun, but has onion rings and sweet peppers married to Swiss cheese with chipotle mayonnaise. I'll admit, biting into this burger immediately after the cowboy was a tad underwhelming. It had a very slight sweetness, obviously the sweet peppers where really doing their job as far as sweetness goes but in all fairness this burger on its on was truly delicious too, the sweetness wasn't strong, and after a few bites the true flavour came through, supported by that great beef and bun, with quality Swiss cheese. Very happy with it and the addition of onion rings on the burger was also subtly noticeable and did not detract from the fact you were eating a proper burger. Conclusion, give Fuddruckers a go, just not in festival city Dubai, chances are you'll get a burger that still isn't the world's greatest, but it'll be fresh, tasty and making you want more. My advice though would be to stay away from the salad bar or whatever it's called, get the burger made for you in its entirety.

Verdict - Look at that

Posted 05.09.2015
Shawermaji Cairo

How can I come to Cairo and not do a kebab review? I can't! These guys look like a chain but their setup inside didn't seem like it, the meat looked so good and with so many varieties of kebab sandwiches they seemed like they knew what they were doing. In order to get a good sense of what's going on here I decided on getting a few kebabs to properly benchmark them, on my first visit I had the beef shawarma and sujuk sandwich...

The beef was fantastic, remember folks I'm talking about kebab meat here, so keep it in perspective, it was very tasty, a touch greasy, had tahini, not hommus, pickles and a lil tabouli and tomato, it wasn't a very large kebab but it was delicious, it ticked all the required boxes for a kebab. Slightly toasted, making it just a tad crispy, the glistening meat was soft and tenderish, and also boasted crispy corners at times, my only complaint is it wasn't big enough, for another 2 EGP you can have a hot sauce on the side, which is crazy good, makes the terribly cooked frozen fries really nice too. Next in line for devouration was the sujuk sandwich, this was a mince meat kebab roasted on coals, put into soft Lebanese bread along with sauces and onions etc, also quite a small sandwich this one, however the similarities end there, this kebab was terrible, I think they use a mayonnaise as the sauce, which completely ruins the taste of the meat, the untoasted soft bread doesn't help and I'll be brutally honest here, after one bite and then another sampling of just the meat, I chucked this out, not appetising at all.

So a couple of days later I'm back with two more kebabs, first up is the chicken shawarma, again slightly toasted and wrapped up along with pickles garlic sauce and a little salad, after the first bite I was convinced this was not only the best kebab I've had from this place but probably the best chicken kebab I've ever had, absolutely lip smackingly delicious, I wished I had two. The last kebab was the kofta orfaly, this, similar to the sujuk one was roasted on the coals and then wrapped in soft bread with a lil salad and and hot sauce, I enjoyed this a lot more than the sujuk kebab however it did pale in comparison to the shawarma kebabs. In conclusion I would deficit recommend shawarmaji if ur in Cairo and suggest you stick with their delicious shawarma sandwich options.

Verdict - Stick with the Shawarma

Posted 05.09.2015
KFC Refresher

In desperate need of a palate cleanser I saw the red white glow of the kernel in the food court of city stars mall food court.

Instantly getting a sudden craving for a zinger I got a value meal. How was it? I was very happy with my zinger with cheese, quite fresh, very cripsy batter, the chicken was not stringy, something that too often plagues zingers, there was sufficient lettuce and most importantly the mayonnaise did it's supporting job brillantly without trying to steal the show. pleasant experience.

Verdict - Pleasantly Surprised

Posted 05.09.2015
Lord of the Wings Cairo

A Lebanese owned wings outlet that does burgers and other Tex Mex fare. Have to try this, we started with traditional wings with hot buffalo sauce, the 3rd hottest, the sauce was hardly hot, should have gone the hottest, the chicken? Pretty ordinary, was quite dry and didn't taste fresh, was like the wings had been precooked a little or frozen, didn't seem fresh, however due to sauce being tasty it was a reasonable start. There was a good amount of burgers to choose from, rather than try the standard American I decided to try the 3x3, which is essentially a triple cheeseburger, they use their burger sauce on it, which is just a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup, I didn't feel like that so opted for a more classic ketchup with mustard, pickles and onions, something I thought would be better suited to a triple cheeseburger. My dining friend had the cheesy melty, and changed the bbq sauce to the buffalo sauce.

I was surprised how big this beast was when it arrived, looks like it was a full 1 pound of beef, 3 1/3 patties, whatever it was it looked beautiful, this heart stopper of a monster was glistening with beefy fat and cheese and the first problem dawned on me, how on earth was I going to fit this into my mouth? I mean I have a pretty reasonably sized mouth but the burger was gonna be a challenge to the traditional way, anyway it had to be done, I wasn't going to dismantle this, after placing the burger in a napkin and a lil squish, I dislocated my jaw slightly and got it in. What a flavour explosion of beef and cheese, just fantastic, the beef quality was excellent, the mustard and ketchup was the perfect amount, and the red onion with pickles was great, this whole burger was a beautiful, it was also piping hot and the cheese being so melted in was gooey greatness without being overwhelming. This could be my favourite triple cheeseburger ever. The bun was soft but firm and did the job of holding this meat fest together very well.

Verdict - Stick with the Burgers

Posted 05.09.2015
Auntie Anne's Cairo

Pretzels, never really cared about these, a few years back I used to have the occasional pretzel dog with American mustard from a place called the pretzel king, they were awesome but only five or so times a year. After that I never really gave them another thought, that is till I saw these glistening doughy sticks with melted cheese through a glass pane while cruzin thru the food court at city stars mall, I moved over for a closer inspection, I looked at the brown meat that was wrapped in this cheesy pretzel that also had jalapeņos draped over it, I stared up to the menu board and had to rub my eyes to be sure I wasn't seeing things... Kofta Pretzel!!

I ordered two. Ok so the kofta wasn't fresh meat that was grilled on the spot, but you'd be pretty stupid to think an outfit like this was going to do that, but the pretzel, the melted cheese that had gone crispy in some parts and the reasonably nice frozen kofta meat made for a completely delicious and different way to experience kofta, and the jalapeņos went surprisingly really well. This definitely qualifies for a Volvodriver must try.

Verdict - Must Try!

Posted 05.09.2015
Fattoush Cairo

For something different I thought I'd try a beef shawarma sandwich for lunch. Named after a Lebanese salad how can you go wrong ordering from a place like this? After yet another difficult experience placing what should be a relatively simple request I was waiting for my wrap, considering the extensive menu I also ordered a side of fried kibbes. Five minutes later 3 kibbes are on the bench, I walk over and explain that not only is the kebab take away so are these bad boys, anyway I thought I'd snack on one while waiting, lucky I did too, was warm outside and stone cold inside, I was starting to get worried, if they can't serve hot food what's this kebab gonna be like?

After a few apologies, another 3 kibbes arrive, again not packed for takeaway, these were clearly over cooked on the outside to ensure the inside was warm, anyway these were nothing to write home about... Reasonable sums it up. Moving onto the shawarma sandwich, looking exactly the same as every shawarma sandwich I've had so far here I was expecting it to be ok, after the first bite however I had a feeling I was wrong... A quick second and third bite confirmed it, beautiful, tasty, fatty goodness in this meat, parts of it were slightly crispy and then that same piece bursts out all the meaty juices in your mouth as u pierce it with the teeth, the tahini combined with pickles and tabouli finished off the dirty, delicious experience, the wrap used is also really thin and toasted to perfection, simply wonderful. Best beef kebab I've had in Egypt.

Verdict - Only eat the Shawarma Sandwiches

Posted 05.09.2015
Ruby Tuesdays

Excited about finding yet another American grill tex mex diner that I haven't seen anywhere else, this was my last dinner in Cairo, I'd even read a review of them in the U.S. and it was mostly positive. I order the pretzel jalapeņo cheeseburger, looked great, but always the skeptic I got a side of buffalo chicken tenders as backup, either that or I was being a pig. After a 15 minute wait my food arrived. The burger looked a bit weird, where was the pretzel bun? Where was the jalapeņos? After the first bite I really didn't care where anything was, all I wanted was to get this filthy concoction of meat, sauce and bread away from me.

First and foremost the patty had a distinct fishy taste which was obviously the most off putting thing about it, but it didn't end there, this burger was a little rare on the inside, which isn't too much of a problem from places you know that use quality beef, but from this random fish beef place it was another instant put off, lastly, well there is no lastly, the rest of the burger could have been amazing but with the grossness that I would have to endure there's no way I'd ever taste anything else but smelly raw fish. With the wrong type of bun, a distinct lack of jalapeņos, basically nothing else but mushy fish beef and a bit of cheese, it was nothing short of disgusting, for you, the readers I took another two bites just to confirm that this was indeed pure filth. Confirmed, vast majority of this burger was instantly binned. Looks like being a pig paid off, the chicken tenders were surprisingly nice, and the buffalo sauce wonderful, hardly unique it's not a reason to frequent this place, but at least I didn't go hungry.

Verdict - Avoid at all costs

Posted 05.09.2015

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