It is the second week of Ramadan already. Some people are ready to go out for an open-air iftar followed by a long evening chat with typical Ramadani drinks and possibly a hookah (sheesha). But not so many are willing to depart from the traditional Egyptian feast. Harah 9 offers a mix of both worlds.
Just off the famous and now all too busy Street 9 of the once super quiet Maadi, Harah 9 is easy to notice at the entrance of Street 83, with the tunes of popular Egyptian songs (mostly new, but some old) reaching out, the inside adorned with traditional Khaymiyah and Kerdassah rugs and decorations.
The scene is certainly Ramadani. And it seems an attempt to copy and paste the mood one would get at a typical Egyptian food restaurant on El-Moez Street, absent the crowds and the history, and with considerably higher prices.
The menu attempts to construct a full taste of Egyptian cuisine. There is the obvious but not necessarily indulgent presence of Moulkhiya, Bamiya and Mouskka. And also a few typical oven-baked tajins: tajin Orzeo with chicken, which sees the untraditional use of chicken breast, rather than chicken legs, and the very fashionable introduction of bell pepper; and tajin Koufta Dawoud Basha, which brings a taste of supermarket frozen meatballs. Then, there is Egyptian Fattah, which is always a challenge if compared to mum’s making of this simple but delicate mix of white rice, toasted bread, meat broth and fried garlic paste. Brown rice with raisins, nuts and bites of veal liver presents a challenge when it comes to introducing the right amount of cinnamon and the right cooking of the veal.
With its sambousak, cooked vine leaves, grilled Kofta, chicken and shish tawook, Harah 9 is also doing the traditional bit of embracing by now established dishes in the Cairo version of the original Delta cuisine.
For the month of Ramadan, in addition to its regular menu, Harah 9 is offering set iftar and sohour menus that range from LE150 to LE230 per person, which feature the above items with traditional lentil and Orzeo soups, a selection of oriental pastries, tea with mint and, for the most expensive menu, one shisha.
Sohour at Harah 9 is actually quite a delightful experience – with pleasant service, fresh air, and fun music, even if a bit loud. Clients can either select from the extended menu of variations of foul, eggs, cheese and so on, or just opt for the LE70 per person sohour that has all the basics.