Showing posts with label Egyptian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Egyptian. Show all posts

Maha’s Egyptian Brunch (Toronto)

It’s a common joke amongst people over 30 that waiting for brunch is the new line for clubbing. For Maha’s Egyptian Brunch, they are that tiny exclusive place that everyone wants to get into. On a nippy day, in the early winter, my friends and I waited one and a half hours (a common occurrence), before we could secure four of the twenty two spots in the dining room.

As soon as I saw the line of about 20 people, I questioned whether we should stay. But, there’s little choice in the area and we decided to wait a bit to see how quickly the line moves. The turnover gradually happens and after waiting for 45 minutes we’re stuck… we’re waiting for the long haul. When I finally walked through the door and the heavenly aromas enveloped me … I knew it was worth the perseverance.

You didn’t wait so long for traditional brunch plates like omelettes, eggs benny, and pancakes. Glancing at the menu, the first dish - the Cairo classic ($16) – already promised a meal of exotic items. The classic is a plate of foole (creamy fava beans stewed with tomatoes, onions, and spices) that’s topped with boiled egg slices, tomato feta, and a light falafel. It’s a lovely messy dish as you try to squish as much of the beans and other items into the soft fluffy toasted balady bread. Then when everything’s about to burst, you bite into it to find an eruption of flavours and textures.

Then add some of the tangy crispy balady salad to the mix and all the flavours change - the acid of the cold pickled vegetables cutting through the hot thick foole. Just be warned, family style dining at Maha’s is a must as there’s so many things to try and dishes are rich, so it’d be too heavy to have one thing on its own.

The Egyptian falafel ($16) is akin to the Scotch egg where soft boiled eggs are encapsulated in a crispy falafel. What an inventive dish! Biting into the golden brown sphere, I’m greeted with a combination of creamy yolk, moist spiced chickpea, and a bit of crispy coating. The eggs sit on a pile of home fries, which at Maha’s are tossed in cumin so they’re earthy and aromatic.

Even the scrambled eggs get a boost of flavours: the Basturma scramble ($15) incorporates pieces of beef cured with fenugreek, garlic, and spices. Their menu describes it perfectly, “an incredibly savoury combination is unlike anything you’ve tasted before”. As you taste a forkful, you’re met with a wave of rich tastes before it finishes with the fluffy egg texture. Who knew the tried and true scrambled eggs could get this yummy.

After all the fantastic egg dishes, Maha’s mind blowing chicken ($16) seemed less mind blowing. Indeed, the mountain of roasted chicken pieces (reminded us of shawarma), had enough spices and garnishes (tabbouleh¸ mayo, and generous drizzles of tehina) to entice taste buds. But it was almost too much as the small toasted egg bun was so tiny that it merely melted into all the juices. The chicken would be better served as a platter with some of the charred balady bread so diners could make your own wraps. That soft toasted bread would be better matched with the salty saucy meat.

The meal was all washed down with a honey cardamom latte ($5.75 for the large), which was warm, rich and fragrant. Because it was a fairly decadent latte, I really should have just gone for the small size. Sitting beside the bar, we were able to watch the drinks being prepared - a painstaking process where the inside of the glass gets painted with a dark honey before any liquids are added. It would explain why each drink arrives separately and it took half the meal for our table of four to get all the lattes.

Brunch at Maha’s was absolutely delicious and it’s certainly worth all the hype. But like clubbing, you may want to bring a roadie, except in this case filled with a hot beverage, as you’ll need something to fuel the wait.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 226 Greenwood Avenue

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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Maha's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato