Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ali Baba Egyptian Restaurant

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There are a few things that gives us a clue as to whether an Egyptian restaurant serves authentic food. One, are the serving staff local Egyptian? Two, are the diners Egyptians? Three, is the television turned on really loudly? (I've read about this and the husband who's been to Cairo confirmed that this is true)

On this occasion, it was a yes to point one and three but as it was Ramadan when we had lunch, it was very quiet. However, the husband had dinner here some time ago and he says that there were a lot of Egyptian businessmen dining here so it's a yes to point two as well!!
As I haven't yet visited Egypt yet and have no knowledge of what Egyptian food is all about, I let the husband take the reins in ordering. 

We started off with Stuffed vine leaves. This was stuffed with rice, pine nuts, raisins with a splash of lemon juice and it was served warm which i was pretty surprised about as the last time I had Stuffed vine leaves in a Greek restaurant, it was served at room temperature. I actually preferred it warm as it somehow brings out the various flavours in the rice. 

Another appetiser we had was the spinach falafel. I have always loved a good falafel and this was definitely one of those times. Nicely spiced, chickpeas had the right texture and including some spinach in it makes for an even healthier dish. The falafel had this fragrance about it and i think rosewater was added to it. What an interesting addition!

Ali Baba Special
For mains, we had the Ali baba Special (Roast lamb with minced meat rice). The star of the show was definitely the lamb as it was so  tender and succulent. Don't you agree?

Molokheya Soup
We also had Molokheya Lamb Soup but this needed some getting used to as it's really starchy. Molokheya, a kind of green spinach like leaf found in the Middle East, acts as a thickening agent when added to soups. Again the lamb that came with it was ultra tender. They sure know how to cook their meats!
Om Ali
Even though we were really stuffed by now, we still had to order the Om Ali(as the husband was raving about it), a dessert flavoured with nuts, milk, rosewater and coconut, that's somewhat like a rice pudding but puff pastry is used instead of rice. Definitely a great warming winter dessert!!

So if you want an authentic Egyptian restaurant experience, give Ali Baba a go!

Ali Baba
32 Ivor Place,London


  1. Lovely food! I've never eaten anything Egyptian until now...



  2. The lamb looks absolutely succulent. And the restaurant from the outside looks pretty authentic, the sign board etc

  3. I think I've tried Egyptian food in Berkeley was pretty authentic and popular place but it's like 10 years ago and I barely remember the taste. You reminded me that I should go back there again. I've tried that homemade stuffed vine leaves at my Jewish friend's house and it was unique and delicious.

  4. Sounds fantastic- we were in Cairo at the beginning of the year (right about the time that Mubarak was ousted- it was a little hairy). My fondest memories were the khoshar- a great combination of lentils, rice, pasta and chickpeas with tomato and chilli.

  5. Rosa: Glad you've learnt a little bit more about Egyptian food!
    Three Cookies: Yes I agree that the exterior looks quite authentic too!
    Nami: Yes, give it another go and am sure you'll still like it.
    Tori: We will have to try khoshar the next time i'm there.

  6. How have they managed to prepare such a juicy lamb leg??? I have baked lamb last Sunday, thought it was quite juicy and tender, but now I feel completely beaten!
    I also love falafels and I have even made some recently, but spinach falafels is so unusual! Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and inspirations. I wish I could go to this place...

  7. Sissi: I have no idea how they did it so i will have to ask them the next time i visit! :)


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