Pad Thai and red curry are among the specialties at Yam Yen Thai Cuisine, a new Thai addition to the peaceful neighborhood of Maadi. The snug eatery lies right at the intersection of Sad al-Aly Street and Road 7.
The restaurant is located right under the Maadi Bridge next to the metro station, which makes its outdoor section somewhat noisy; however, the small garden embracing it makes up for the clatter with a fountain, adding a sense of peacefulness. The small size of the restaurant makes it cozy and private, but customers in the outdoor section are frequently forgotten by the waiters because they are out of sight.
Food-wise, Yam Yen seems to fall squarely in the middle. The spring rolls were dull and the dough on the thick side, which made them a little squishy on the inside. In contrast, the chicken satay was thinly cut, well-cooked and delicious. We were very impressed with the peanut dip, which was consistent and flavorful, with just the right amount of spice.
If you’re having a salad, you might want to avoid the beef which was rather fatty and extremely soggy — and a little heavy on the spice. But that Thai classic, the Pad Thai was just right and not too eggy, like the Pad Thai served in other Thai eateries around Cairo. However, it was oddly filled with prawns, which were a little too fishy.
We tried the stir fry, which was spiced very nicely. Unfortunately, Yam Yen chose to skimp a little on the shrimp: Only four medium-sized shrimps were used per order. But the mushroom and ginger sauce was spicy and scrumptious, and the combination of herbs with fresh ginger made the dish fresh, savory and piquant.
On our night at Yam Yen, things were a little off, probably because the restaurant is still relatively new. The shrimp order arrived incorrectly the first time, waiters were sometimes hard to find and a couple of menu items were “not recommended.”
That said, the waiter apologized profusely, and the correct dish was served five minutes later. The waiters are professional and friendly, but the service is relatively slow.
Yam Yen doesn’t have a dessert menu, which is a little disappointing. And the beverages are limited to sodas, tea and coffee.
For an hors d’oeuvre, the price will range between LE20 and LE30 unless you choose the combo platter for LE70. The second course will range from LE35 to LE70, and expect to pay an additional LE20 for side orders like fried rice or noodles.
Overall, Yam Yen Thai Cuisine has a few teething problems to iron out still but takeout is definitely recommended. The restaurant opens from 11 am to 12 am, with delivery time estimated at just under an hour. The delivery charge is LE6.
Yam Yen Thai Cuisine; Address:
23 Sad al-Aly St.; Tel.: 02-2380-8188,
Hours: 11 am–12 pm; delivers in Maadi.
This piece was originally published in Egypt Independent's weekly print edition.