By: Mariam Elhamy
We had the pleasure of sitting with Chef Wesam Masoud and sampling the spectacular menu he has devised for Sho.ku.ku. While the restaurant was not officially opened when we visited, we were generously afforded a sneak peek at the menu. Sho.ku.ku’s cuisine is Egyptian comfort food with a twist and an infusion of international cuisines and flavors. Building on the concept of “weird being the new normal”, Chef Masoud adds a surprise element in most of his dishes. We found the result wonderfully delicious during our exclusive tasting.
Signatures dishes: Mazeej Foul, Roomi Saganaki, and Kabsa Gamberetto.
We started with the Mazeej Foul, a mix between shakshouka and Alexandrian foul. The beans were seasoned with garlic powder, dry coriander, cumin, tahini and sesame seeds with a soft boiled egg in the middle of the dish. This is a beautifully presented and seasoned plate of really good foul!
Next came the magnificent Halloumi Mutabbal, dressed with fresh and dry coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, sumac, black pepper, cumin, and a surprise element: roasted ground walnuts. Despite the complexity of ingredients, the dish is very fresh, and the combination of flavors is delicious! The Arugula and Quinoa Salad arrived quickly after, a twist on a classic baladi salad by adding quinoa and red onions rubbed with sumac. The result was tart and sweet, with fresh lemon juice and arugula adding the peppery flavor. The raisins add in a sweet factor, which is Chef Masoud’s “weird” twist on a classic.
Next came the Fried Besara Croquettes; a vibrant, refreshing and well-made dish comprising of three fried croquette balls of green besara and chickpeas. The Roomi Saganaki was a block of cheese dipped in flour and fried in a small pan with white truffle honey, nigella seeds and black pepper. Originally a Greek dish, Saganaki is usually served with freshly baked bread. The theme of the dishes began to move up the map and enter the territory of Alexandrian food, which we love! Based on El Falah’s kebda came the Chicken Livers and Lemon Tasha, moist chicken liver cooked with Egyptian “tasha” and lemon juice. Though traditionally made with ghee, this tasha was made with butter, crushed garlic and dry coriander.
The Veal Schnitzel, inspired by the Italian 2 Michelin star chef Davide Scabin, arrived cooked to order – medium rare. The breading included anise to give the crust a unique flavor. We worked our way to the Stuffed Calamari next, making good use of the fresh Mediterranean catch. Chef Masoud takes traditional Egyptian mahshy stuffing, adds some shrimp and uses it to stuff the calamari. He then cooks it in marinara sauce with big shell pasta to give some heft and weight to the dish. Who knew that both Egyptian and Italian comfort food could be combined in one dish that is very enjoyable?
Saving the best for last, we were served the Kabsa Gamberetto, a Saudi dish with a seafood twist. Basmati rice infused with turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron with shrimps and finished off with fried onions like Egyptian koshari. The combination of flavors was just heavenly, with a little bit of Indian and Persian influence present as well.
To satisfy our sweet tooth, the Sesame and Date French toast capped the meal. Two pieces of soft French toast nestling pieces of sukkary dates, and a tiny bit of butter to break down the dates. Instead of maple syrup, the toast was coated with reduced molasses with tahini and a tiny bit of milk.
Décor & Ambience
Relaxing, modern, minimalistic furniture with a quiet area in front of the lake and comfy hammocks at the back to enjoy a refreshing drink while you chill.
Address: Mazeej Hotel, Hacienda White
Tel: 0101 911 8199
Facebook / Instagram: Mazeejhotel