It's the mid-afternoon slump on King Street. The coffee bars are slowly winding down. Lunch is well-over, and there's not many on the street. I'm often hungry during this time, and there is really only one good place to go, and probably the only time you could pull a seat. I've seen the place on a Saturday night, and even from a blurry distance, it still looks full sans any standing room. For those who haven't ventured away from the noise down to Enmore Road, Cairo Takeaway has been open now for nearly a year, and already standing as a local favourite.
With a rustic shopfront, there's stone coloured walls with strategically-chipped concrete to form what is an earthy, ceiling high portrait, really only noticeable after you've once been dazzled by the bright, fresh colours waiting for assembly in Cairo's open kitchen. Seating is a neat mix of simple cane outdoor tables and metal bar seating inside. Whilst you wait for your order, watch on intently with the mixed relishes (including eggplant mesa'a'ha), fresh herbs and pickles help dress all the plates and pockets of fresh grilled meats and Cairo's own Taameyya - Egyptian Felafels.
The felafels are decieving ($11 in a roll, $2 per piece). At first glance, they look like any other, but after exploration they harbour a beautiful, bright green center, exposing the difference to its lebanese cousin to which we're accustomed to. The charcoal chicken plate ($15) adds more to the rainbow with neon-pink pickled turnips among small gifts of fattoush, eggplant mesa'a'ha, pearly-white toum, pickled cucumbers and chillies.
The fattoush is fresh, crisp and really not too tangy, thanks to just the right amount of sumac. The charcoal chicken is cubed, grilled, and dressed with fine-chopped herbs. Its tender, full of flavour, and rather juicy, imposing an element of risk if you intend to wrap it all up with your flatbread. To complement the regular offerings, Cairo offer a traditional iced Hibiscus Tea, Sugarcane Juice and a mint Black Tea which even on a warmer day is refreshing and light on the tannins.