I first heard about King Arabic Sandwich on the fabulous 2Summers’s blog. This was a few months back and since then I had been aching to check it out. This eatery is located in the Mayfair/Fordsburg area of Joburg – an area which is popular with immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Maybe this is why Muhammed and his wife Hanaan, refugees from Palestine, chose to set up King Arabic Sandwich here.
A small bakery and restaurant, King Arabic Sandwich not only offers the popular Middle Eastern delicacies such as shawarmas, Arabic breads, falafels and fattoush but also some of the more unique and typical Arabic dishes like kunafeh (a cheese pastry soaked in sugar syrup), maqlouba (a rice dish) and musakhan (a large bread topped with chicken, onions and spices). Most of the latter dishes are however, made on special orders only and you may not find them at the restaurant on a regular basis.
The eatery has four tables inside, where one can sample some of their ready eats whilst chatting with the friendly Muhammed or you can get a takeaway. My friend and I decided to try some of their delectable pies right there at the restaurant, whilst also ordering a few as takeaways! The pies were actually soft Arabic breads with different fillings inside. The available options were mince with onions, chicken with onions and mushrooms, steak with cheese, etc. We decided to order two different ones and share. While the pies were being warmed up, Hanaan showed us some of the dips that were made fresh by them and could be bought. The fridge was stacked with neat containers of hummus, babaganoush, tahina, muttawamah (garlic sauce) and a spicy cheese dip, which Hanaan explained was something they made specially for customers in Joburg as most people asked for a spicy dip! I bought some babaganoush (aubergine dip), the spicy cheese and a large arabic bread, generously topped with sesame and black nigella seeds, to takeaway. The dips were delicious although I preferred the babaganoush to the spicy one. Besides these, they also sell packaged stuff like za’tar (a spice mix), special Palestinian cheese, olives, olive oil and falafels.
By the time we were back at our table, the pies were ready. The soft bread was beautiful and the added flavours of the sesame and nigella along with the filling, was heavenly. They looked small but one pie each was quite enough for both of us. I also decided to try their hibiscus juice which was a tad too sweet for me but my friend seemed to enjoy it.
Before we left, Muhammed informed us that on Fridays he makes special Palestinian dishes (I am assuming its some of the special orders), and on weekends he makes the shawarmas. For these and more, I am bound to be going back soon.
Address: Corner of Hanover Street and 9th Avenue, Mayfair, Johannesburg.
Tuesday to Friday: 8am-8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8am-10pm
Parking: On the street