Where Mummy knows best: taste of Egypt comes to Boxpark

Cairo cool: Koshary Kitchen offers a fresh take on Egyptian food at Boxpark

When SANJANA IDNANI heard that there was a new restaurant in town offering the best of Egyptian street food, she went along to find out more and, naturally, she took her Mum(my)

A trip to Cairo might not be on the cards any time soon, but the reopening of restaurants means that I can at least travel with my tastebuds. The opening of a new, Egyptian-themed restaurant at Boxpark offered the chance to enjoy the buzz of eating out again and have lunch with my mum.

Sweet chick: the Koshary street food that gives Boxpark’s newest restaurant its name

Koshary Kitchen was opened by Ramy Abdelrehim and is named after the popular Egyptian street food dish – a combination of rice, lentils and macaroni with a spicy tomato sauce and crispy onions.

This street food aspect of the dish was brought to life by the surrounding atmosphere in Boxpark, making it the perfect location for the restaurant. The hum and chatter in the background, the ebb and flow of people drifting in and out, and the stall-like set-up of the restaurant units seem to add authenticity of the style of food we were trying.

Koshary Kitchen’s décor adds atingle to the excitement of the new, a colourful mural that fuses Ancient Egyptian and British culture, including a ram-headed figure holding a dog.

A key novelty of Abdelrehim’s take on Koshary is the build-your-own-bowl concept, which allows diners to adapt the classic recipe to whatever suits their tastes that day. Koshary Kitchen also has a range of signature bowls to choose from, too, which is ideal if you want to grab and go (or if like me, you agonise over decisions).

We sampled the medium classic Koshary bowl and a medium build-your-own-bowl mix.

The classic Koshary is comprised of a base of white rice, pasta and lentils, tomato sauce, crispy fried onions, and vinaigrette drizzled on top. You can also add a range of toppings  – we chose feta cheese, salad, breadcrumbs and chillies.

While it was a shame that there was no vinaigrette, so I couldn’t try the dish true to form, the harissa mayo was a wonderful substitution, and the meal was a vibrant combination of textures and flavours. The tomato sauce was warming and wholesome, the white rice and macaroni combination was very tasty and as a lover of spice, the chillies were a welcome addition.

For the build-your-own-bowl, we opted for a healthier base of brown rice along with lentils. We added the aubergine, red pepper and chickpea stew for protein and once again went with the harissa mayo for sauce. For the toppings, we added feta, salad, hazelnut dukkah and chilli.

Meaty options: Shawarma wraps come with beef, as here, or with prawns

The aubergines were packed with flavour and were complimented well by the red pepper and chickpeas.

Though we were keen to try the pomegranate seeds and broad beans as toppings, too, the busy weekend of football meant that these were sold out. However, the best thing about the build-your-own-bowl option is that when we come back, we can try something different to what we had last time – hopefully with these toppings.

The classic Koshary is £6.50 for a medium and £2 more for a large portion. The build-your-own-bowl is generally £9.50 for a medium and £11.50 for a large meal ( some special toppings cost extra.

The service was quick, and the staff were so friendly and welcoming. The food was healthy, filling, and full of variation. There was plenty of options to keep us happy as vegetarians, but the menu also has an array of options for meat and fish eaters.

If you are looking for a meal that has a home-cooked feeling and has toppings that are innovative enough to accommodate whatever you are in the mood for – whether that be something refreshing, spicy, or crunchy – Koshary Kitchen is the place to go!

Click here for the full Koshary Kitchen menu. Koshary Kitchen is at Unit 17, Boxpark, George Street, CR0 1LD, right next to East Croydon Station.

  • Sanjana Idnani and her guest enjoyed their meals courtesy of Koshary Kitchen

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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