- Life Style
Downtown is the hub of old bars, cabarets, striving artists and old restaurants that have become Cairo institutions. But there's something new worth trying among the old standbys. Almost four months ago, Anadol Express opened its doors at the intersection of Champollion and Mahmoud Bassiouny streets to Turkish food lovers.
The red and white restaurant is hard to miss; the mouth-watering smells can be detected meters away. Don’t be alarmed by the small space, as the restaurant offers a relatively comfortable and clean setting on its second floor, but be aware that it is not especially fancy.
The menu is hard to grasp, especially for those unfamiliar with Turkish names and recipes. Ask for the specials and listen to any recommendations your waiter may have. Some of the items on the menu were not available, including lentil soup, which we replaced with a sehriye corba (noodle soup) that was out of this world. It is chicken stock and tomato-based and full of flavor.
The salad bar is not diverse. The eggplant and salad, the yogurt salad and the pickles were tasty, but the garlic paste was too salty.
The grill is heavenly. The marinade Anadol uses adds flavor and keeps the meat juicy. The karisik izgara is not your traditional mixed grill, the meat is marinated and cooked with sumac, so the smell and taste are pleasantly surprising. The meat is tender. Iskender kebap is a mix of grilled pieces of meat and bread, all soaked in yogurt. The spices in the meat, sumac and mint are balanced out with the yogurt. The doner kebap is your typical plate of beef or chicken shawerma with a Turkish twist: the spices. The Turkish bread is light, thin and fresh and goes perfectly with the spiced meat.
Turkish cuisine, although similar to Egyptian in many ways, uses a distinct blend of spices, especially sumac. An assorted plate of sumac, mint, chili and pepper is necessary and always placed on the dining table.
Don’t leave before you have a cup of fermented Turkish tea. It is light and calming. Add a dash of cinnamon to your sugar, a nice Turkish trick that gives a richer flavor.
Overall, Anadol is pleasant and cozy. The items are limited but the food tastes great and prices are reasonable. Waiters are friendly, but the service is a little slow.
The salads cost between LE7 and LE10, while a main course will not exceed LE40. Anadol is definitely a nice change of pace from the typical fast food joints.
Anadol Express; Address: 14 Champollion Street; Tel.: 02-2773-2222; Hours: 1 pm–1 am daily.