Al Manzil: A cozy Lebanese oasis on the bustling streets of Cairo

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Al Manzil restaurant in Heliopolis serves traditional Lebanese fare with a wide selection of mezze platters. Its peaceful setting is a welcome respite from the hectic rush of Cairo.
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Al Manzil restaurant in Heliopolis serves traditional Lebanese fare with a wide selection of mezze platters. Its peaceful setting is a welcome respite from the hectic rush of Cairo.
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Al Manzil restaurant in Heliopolis serves traditional Lebanese fare with a wide selection of mezze platters. Its peaceful setting is a welcome respite from the hectic rush of Cairo.
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Al Manzil restaurant in Heliopolis serves traditional Lebanese fare with a wide selection of mezze platters. Its peaceful setting is a welcome respite from the hectic rush of Cairo.
Updated 27 July 2018
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Al Manzil: A cozy Lebanese oasis on the bustling streets of Cairo

CAIRO: Located in the heart of Korba, Heliopolis, Al Manzil offers a special patio dining experience. We visited the restaurant on a busy Thursday evening and quickly grabbed a prime table by the fountain.
The interior is reminiscent of a Syrian/Levantine courtyard house. Dark brown bamboo chairs are paired with wooden tables, with Arabic music adding to the whole authentic ambiance. Whether you’re after delicious Lebanese food or looking to enjoy some shisha, Al Manzil is the go-to place.
Our meal began with a selection of mezze platters, served swiftly and with creative flair. The salad was a playful fusion of grilled eggplant cubes soaked in a generous dressing of tangy lemon juice balanced out by a sweet and pungent pomegranate sauce and mixed with cherry tomatoes, parsley, bell peppers and onions — the latter two adding a hint of crunchiness that worked well with the soft aubergine
It was accompanied by Al Manzil’s complementary signature dip tray, comprising scoops of homemade labneh, cold moussaka and a selection of pickles. This mezze-trio comes paired with anise-kissed crunchy breadsticks, freshly baked pita bread and a bowl of fresh vegetables.
We were also served a chickpea-sesame puree spread across a shallow bowl, with perfectly seasoned beef shawarma strips lying in the middle. We added an abundant drizzle of olive oil and indulged in this marvel of flavor.
For our main course, we settled on fattet hummus and arayes bil lahmeh. Fattet hummus is a hearty Levantine staple — a cross between chickpea-bread pudding and chickpea casserole — made by layering fried pita bread, adding a generous amount of laban, and showering it with a plentiful sprinkle of chickpeas and pine nuts. This classic dish’s flavors certainly hit all of the right notes. The creamy yogurt sauce subtly countered the nutty flavor of chickpeas, with the bread pieces and pine nuts further enhancing the overall experience.
As delicious as the fatteh was, the arayes lahmeh was a real contender too: straight-off-the-grill pita bread sandwiches stuffed with minced lamb meat and served with pickled cucumbers. The dish was served in a dibs rimman-based marinade — a blend of minced meat, onion, sesame paste and tomatoes. The succulent lamb’s taste was heightened by the fierce vividness of pomegranate sauce and made our taste buds dance with joy.
When it was time for dessert, we savored Al Manzil’s signature sweet dish ghazl banat bil ice cream — mastic ice cream wrapped in Arabic cotton candy and drizzled with pistachios. Once my spoon broke through the candy floss, it came apart, revealing a mountain of gooey ice cream. The dish delivered the sweetness of the floss’s velvety wool-like strands fused with the chewy, creamy mastic ice cream and the nuttiness of crispy pistachios.
We ended our extensive meal with two cups of Turkish coffee, enjoying a few more minutes of good tarrab — and an unexpected summer breeze — before hitting the busy Cairo roads again.


Restaurants could be 1st to get genetically modified salmon

Updated 21 June 2019
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Restaurants could be 1st to get genetically modified salmon

  • The salmon produced by AquaBounty are the first genetically modified animals approved for human consumption in the US
  • They represent one way companies are pushing to transform the plants and animals we eat, even as consumer advocacy groups call for greater caution

NEW YORK: Inside an Indiana aquafarming complex, thousands of salmon eggs genetically modified to grow faster than normal are hatching into tiny fish. After growing to roughly 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) in indoor tanks, they could be served in restaurants by late next year.
The salmon produced by AquaBounty are the first genetically modified animals approved for human consumption in the US. They represent one way companies are pushing to transform the plants and animals we eat, even as consumer advocacy groups call for greater caution.
AquaBounty hasn’t sold any fish in the US yet, but it says its salmon may first turn up in places like restaurants or university cafeterias, which would decide whether to tell diners that the fish are genetically modified.
“It’s their customer, not ours,” said Sylvia Wulf, AquaBounty’s CEO.
To produce its fish, Aquabounty injected Atlantic salmon with DNA from other fish species that make them grow to full size in about 18 months, which could be about twice as fast as regular salmon. The company says that’s more efficient since less feed is required. The eggs were shipped to the US from the company’s Canadian location last month after clearing final regulatory hurdles.
As AquaBounty worked through years of government approvals, several grocers including Kroger and Whole Foods responded to a campaign by consumer groups with a vow to not sell the fish.
Already, most corn and soy in the US is genetically modified to be more resistant to pests and herbicides. But as genetically modified salmon make their way to dinner plates, the pace of change to the food supply could accelerate.
This month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to simplify regulations for genetically engineered plants and animals. The move comes as companies are turning to a newer gene-editing technology that makes it easier to tinker with plant and animal DNA.
That’s blurring the lines around what should be considered a genetically modified organism, and how such foods are perceived. In 2015, an Associated Press-GfK poll found two-thirds of Americans supported labeling of genetically modified ingredients on food packages. The following year, Congress directed regulators to establish national standards for disclosing the presence of bioengineered foods.
But foods made with the newer gene-editing technique wouldn’t necessarily be subject to the regulation, since companies say the resulting plants and animals could theoretically be produced with conventional breeding. And while AquaBounty’s salmon was produced with an older technique, it may not always be obvious when people are buying the fish either.
The disclosure regulation will start being implemented next year, but mandatory compliance doesn’t start until 2022. And under the rules , companies can provide the disclosures through codes people scan with their phones. The disclosure also would note that products have “bioengineered” ingredients, which advocacy groups say could be confusing.
“Nobody uses that term,” said Amy van Saun of the Center for Food Safety, who noted “genetically engineered” or “genetically modified” are more common.
The center is suing over the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of AquaBounty’s salmon, and it is among the groups that asked grocers to pledge they wouldn’t sell the fish.
The disclosure rules also do not apply to restaurants and similar food service establishments. Greg Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest noted that AquaBounty’s fish will represent a tiny fraction of the US salmon supply, and that many people may not care whether they’re eating genetically modified food. Still, he said restaurants could make the information available to customers who ask about it.
“The information should not be hidden,” Jaffe said.
AquaBounty’s Wulf noted its salmon has already been sold in Canada, where disclosure is not required. She said the company believes in transparency but questioned why people would want to know whether the fish are genetically modified.
“It’s identical to Atlantic salmon, with the exception of one gene,” she said.