A while ago I’ve been walking in the Souk district of the Avenues mall when I saw a boarded up coming soon restaurant under the name of “C-Omar”. C is a word used in Egypt for mister and if I’m not mistaken there is a black and white movie by the name of C-Omar. Therefore C-Omar was clearly a new Egyptian restaurant and judging by the modern looking design and my love for Egyptian food, I knew I will keep an eye out for its opening.
Then I got an invitation to dine in C-Omar on the night before its official opening and I knew I would be going. One thing about 80’s children is that they’ve grown up watching Sherihan fawazeer on Ramadan TV, saw Layali Al-Helmiya and Raafat Al-Hajan with their parents, listened to Egyptian singers from Um Kalthum to Amr Diab, and are very familiar with the Egyptian culture and food. Plus, I spent the first five years of my life living in Egypt while my parents went to college there and I was always fascinated by their unique culture, sense of humour, and ancient pharos. I even wanted to become an archaeologist and spend the rest of my life digging for pharos treasures in Egypt but that obviously didn’t happen or else I wouldn’t be here typing this post while listening to my favourite Egyptian -and Arabic- singer, Abdulhaleem!
I’ve been singing Abdulhaleem’s songs ever since I sat at the table in C-Omar yesterday and it had his face on it with the lyrics of one of his songs written on it on the place mat.
C-Omar is designed to look like a modern Egyptian Cafe or Qahwa, with plenty of outdoors seating overlooking the Souk district walkway. You dine while people watching and I expect it would be an excellent place for breakfast too.
When we were seated we were presented right away with Termis topped with cumin. I have absolutely no idea what termis is in English, but you can think of it as Egyptian edamame that eaten as a snack while walking alongside the Nile river -I saw that in their movies-.
Also an Egyptian bread basket: fluffy brown Egyptian bread dusted with wheat grain and the flakey misheltet pastry that for some reason I don’t like and I’m thankful for that or else I’d weigh 10 kilos heavier. Misheltet is usually eaten hot and bubbling with clotted cream or honey or in Kuwait with Nutella or Kraft cheese. The Egyptian bread was delicious.
Then arrived an array of appetisers, so many there was almost no place on the table our cutlery!
First were the baleela, or cooked chickpeas with cumin and lemon. These were good and cooked to perfection. Not too soft and not too dry still. Give that lemon a good squeeze before you eat them to add more flavour.
Next came the stuffed vine leaves, waraq anab. Frankly I didn’t like them. They were sweet to start with and I like my waraq anab savoury and quite tangy. Plus, they had quite a bite to them and could definitely use some more time on the stove.
Of course there was the bowl of foul -fava beans- drizzled with oil, perfectly cooked and delicious especially when eaten with the Egyptian bread.
Rocket, feta, and pine salad. If you are a fan of rocket you will enjoy this one.
Hummus topped with fried sweet potatoes. Now this is a must try! The Hummus was unbelievably good and the sweet potatoes, though strange in such a dish, just contributed it to the awesomeness of the dish. Highly recommended.
Next came two kinds of falafel: Normal Falafel and Taamiya. I always though the two were the same thing, that Taamiya was just the Egyptian for falafel. Both were excellent and I enjoyed them immensely. The falafel weren’t oily at all and were more green than yellow from the inside, something I appreciate.
A delicious falafel sandwich drizzled with tahini sauce. Yum!
After a short break all the appetisers were cleared and out came the main dishes. We tried three main dishes. First, the macaroni béchamel, a dish you always see Egyptian families enjoying in their movies.
Next, Rozz Moamar with Chicken. Its more like the Egyptian version of a chicken and cream risotto. May I also add that the portion of these dishes would be enough to make an entire family full?
For fussy eaters who want something familiar, there is margharita pizza. Since the C-Omar is by the same owner of Chocolate & Macaroons, Brown Tomato, and Croccante Pizza, you will know how the pizza tastes like and is a welcome item to an otherwise very traditional menu.
C-Omar also have my favourite Egyptian main dish on the menu, Koshari. I didn’t get to try it though but I’m so going too!
Before desserts and tea I decided to peek inside the restaurant and see how it looked like. Quite tiny with only one table, but the chandelier and the pictures hanging on the wall of well known Egyptian actors and actresses, the likes of Faten Hamama, Omar Al-Sherif, and Sherihan to name a few, are lovely!
Next it was dessert and tea time. We ordered both Kuwaiti style tea and Egyptian tea that comes in a mug or a “Kobbaya”, my favourite way to drink tea by the way.
How cute is the little running man holding bread and chased by a stray cat on the little tea estekana?
For dessert we had a famous cheesecake, the muhallabiya cheesecake, that is available as well in Chocolate and Macaroons and is quite a best seller. Everyone loved it and if you are a fan of cheesecakes you must try it.
And of course, the one and only Um Ali! The lovely thing about C Omar’s Um Ali is that it contains no trace of raisins whatsoever, something I love and usually omit when I make my own Um Ali. A must try!
C-Omar will be open today, at 5 P.M. so if you are a fan of Egyptian food and fancy some good delicious lunch in a new place with a great seating, you can head to the Souk district in the avenues and try their various other dishes. Thank you C-Omar for inviting us over for dinner, it was truly our pleasure and we enjoyed our dinner very much.
C-Omar is located in the Souk District of the Avenues mall right down the walkway from Cafe Bazza. For more information you can check their instagram account @C_OmarKW.