In Cairo, autumn is perhaps the nicest season, and November perhaps the month with the best weather. It is still not chilly, but not too hot either to inhibit one from considering a rather rich late lunch – one that would perhaps need no dinner to follow.
With its sunny glass windows that allow for the sun’s rays to probe in peacefully, the setting of Beit Ward, on Thwara Street in Heliopolis, like that in Mohandessin on Soliman Abaza Street, offers the perfect setting for a nice laid back late lunch. And the menu that comes from the north to south of Lebanon – or rather the Levant, because there is certainly a Syrian imprint there – is there to encourage one to indulge.
A lunch that starts at around 3-4pm in the afternoon is well worth a soup to start with. While Beit Ward might not have astounding diversity in this section of its menu, what they do have is very nice. Certainly recommendation is the lentil soup, and the time is good for this particular warm dish. On the other hand, the chicken soup is not to be sneered at either. They both have a distinct* texture and smell and taste like they are served from the pot on the stove of one’s mother’s kitchen.
In the presence of Levantine cuisine, a wide selection of starters is in order. It is always a big question whether one should order fettoush and taboulah or if one should go for one and not the other. But when four healthy people are there to indulge there is a good reason to order both, especially that their portions are not overly big, the vegetables are fresh and the dressing is just right.
A couple of other starters/salads should certainly include their metabel (crushed eggplant with a bit of cleverly dressed garlic) and their yallanjy (cold stuffed vine leaves served with olive oil and lemon).
From the hot appetizers/starters sections one should really not miss their chicken liver with lemon, and chicken liver with pomegranate molasses, and their maqaneq with lemon and with pomegranate molasses. As the waiters place these dishes on the table along with his recommended grilled halloumi, hot potatoes and hummus , a feast is already on.
In 30 minutes, one is wondering whether to go for another round of appetizers and salads or to go for a main dish and coffee. Given that it is almost five in the evening and that dinner is unlikely following such a lunch, one is inclined to go for the inviting dishes of the main course section of the menu.
Kebab with eggplant and kebab with cherry are there to re-stimulate the appetite. The chicken and meat are tender and not too spicy. The three dishes are more than enough for four people, especially if one orders a mixed green salad and lemon-mint drinks as well.
It is by then, perhaps, six in the evening. The sun is down and the lights are on. It is time to enjoy a slow round of tea with mint followed by a round of Turkish coffee before paying a bill that comes to around LE2,000.
By seven in the evening it is really time to go, especially if one wishes to avoid the hookah smoke and relatively bumped up volume of music that is typical of most restaurants in Cairo during the evening segment of their hours.
Beit Ward (FB)