Thursday, November 22, 2007

Caution !!!!! The juice guy at the Khan

If you are thirsty after trekking the khan and looking for a juice, then the juice guy next to Egyptian pancakes at the Khan is MOST DEFINITELY NOT THE PLACE YOU WANT TO GO !

They are Bl&**$ scamsters !

I have always grabbed a juice there (over 20 times in the last year) with my Egyptian friends and it has never cost me more than 3LE.

I had recommended to my visiting aunts (2 weeks back) that they drink juice at his place if they felt thirsty in the area. I told them it would be about 5LE. (including the doubling of price for a tourist) The guy charged them 10LE for each lemon juice !

I thought it was some kind of mix up and ignored it.

When I went to the khan with my uncles last week, we ate at Egyptian pancakes & got the juice from the guy next door. He came back to me with a bill of 60LE for 5 lemon juice. 12 LE each ! (4 times the actual price !!!!!) He refused to see reason, even when I told him that he was charging us 4 times the price ! (To put it in perspective, a canned aerated drink in the market costs a maximum of 2.5LE)

Since the scamster doesn't have a menu, there's no way you can verify the price. 2.5$ for a lime juice is too much for any tourist (even if he/she is the supposed rich American)

Fix your price with the juice guy before ordering or don't order at all. I am definitely NEVER EVER going to drink a juice there again !

PS : The pancakes guy has a menu, so there's no trouble there.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Iftaar Buffet at Marriott Cairo Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino

Attended the Iftaar Buffet at Mariott.

Pretty standard and similar to other Iftaar buffets in the cities 5 stars.

at Mariott, the location is at Omar's Cafe which has a huge seating area.

Tip of the day : Make sure you reach an Iftaar buffet as soon as possible to the fast breaking time, because food gets over very quickly and once the main rush is over, the serving staff also have to eat. So if you reach late you can expect neither service nor food.

What to expect at the buffet ?
The dates soaked in milk to break the fast properly.
6 different types of juices - tamrhind, karkadi,the apricot juice, the almond drink, caroub among others
20 different types of dips
10 different salads - vegetarian and non vegetarian
10 main course items - rokak (bread layered with mince/cheese like a stuffed laccha paratha) Kabsa (biryani) couscous & gravy, veal & beans, chickpeas and other items of the day.
2-3 grilled items - kebabs, koftas, shish tawook - grilled live, if you arrive on time
2-3 deep fried items - kobeba, cheese & meat sambusaks (samosas)
1 live counter - the day we went, it was liver being tossed according to ones taste (choose your seasonings and mixes)
10-15 items along the fresh fruit counter (includes dry fruits)
15-20 varieties of Egyptian sweets including Om Ali and custard.

Food was extremely delicious. Make sure you arrive on time so as to get proper service. Reach so as to finish your complete meal before 7pm for sure. (given this years timings for breaking the fast)

Then you can relax sipping shaai (tea) at the cafe or enjoy the ambiance outside of the garden cafe.

The night club next door has been converted to a prayer room for those who would like to pray before/after eating.

Damages : 145 LE per person. With sales & service taxes and a 2LE donation (I have no clue what it is donated towards) It comes to about 181 LE per person without any additional items being ordered like water or tea.

Omar's Cafe
Marriott Cairo Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino
16 Saray el Gezira Street
P O Box 33
Cairo 11211

Tel : +20 2 2728 3000 Ext - 8240

Reservations aren't necessary but they are recommended

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Crocodile Grill

Crocodile Grill
City Stars
2 Aly Rashad St.
Star Capital 1
P. O. Box 5112 Heliopolis West
Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt. 11771

Pretty Extensive menu. You can take a look of some parts of it on their website

Although City Stars is supposed to be a completely "No Smoking" Zone, visitors have been showing casual disregard for this for a couple of months now. So I for one was very glad when the restaurant had segregated a section for the non smokers to enjoy their meal without the constant stench of cigarette smoke.

I just ordered the appetiser platter & a Bottomless Iced Tea. As you can see from the picture below, the platter is more than enough for an entire meal for 2 people.

Onion Rings, Spring Rolls, Nachos, Chicken wings, chicken tenders, Mozarella sticks & a choice of 3 dipping sauces - honey mustard, barbeque & a cream cheese mix.

The chicken tenders were amazing. I prefer the wings at Chilli's. The Onion Rings were just right. Crispy on the outside & sweet on the inside. I think the Platter was about 55LE.

Staff was very friendly. Friendliness is their Motto. (Yes, its a stated motto. Its written all over the place)

The Ice Tea was the bottomless variety for about 10LE. They have lots of Burgers, Sea Food & other fried stuff on the menu.

The desserts in the display case looked yummy but I did not have any space left for anything sweet.

What makes them stand apart from the other American Chains in Cairo - Chilli's Fuddruckers etc ? they have a large menu of drinks (non alcoholic) & milk shakes brewed on site. Next time I'm going for the drinks & the dessers only.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The World's Best Hamburger Is in Egypt

The World's Best Hamburger Is in Egypt
Scott Macleod/Cairo

Having spent a lot of my journalistic life in Cairo, I'm fond of Egyptian food. The garlic-spiced mashed fava bean dish called ful medames, for instance, which we eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My teenage daughter repudiated McDonald's after seeing Supersize Me, so when she's out with her friends, they go to a local hangout known for its kushari, a spicy mix of macaroni, rice, chick peas and lentils........

For the rest of the article, click on this link The World's Best Hamburger Is in Egypt

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bua Khao Thai Restaurant

Bua Khao Thai Restaurant
12:00 to 23:00

No. 9, Road 151. Old Maadi
358 0126

Bua Khao is this really sweet Thai Restaurant way out in Maadi. But is worth a trip at least once a month for the authentic Thai flavours and their wonderful Thai iced coffee.

The entrance is covered by a Thai style roof and is a prelude of the tastes to come.

The staff recognises its regulars and lets them seat themselves. But if its someone new, they will courteously seat you at a table of your choice.

The restaurant has a very cosy feel about it. The staff is pleasant and service is good.

The food is excellent and thats why most visitors become regulars. The ingredients are flown in fresh from Thailand and are not the tinned and canned variety.

Start with the Thai Iced Coffee. The soups can suffice as a complete meal if you order the large size ones. Quantities are excellent and most dishes will comfortably feed two people. Its only the steamed rice that comes in individual portions. Spiciness is adjusted to taste. They make it low on chillies for my Western guest and put enough fire in there for my Indian palate when I request them to.

Definitely worth a visit, if you are looking for authentic Thai food in Cairo.

Individual dish reports follow:
Crispy Calamari had coconut flakes in it 21LE. Excellent
Dim Sum had chicken dumplings & Shrimp Sui Mai for 25LE. Really good.
Tom Yam Goong. We specifically requested the spiciest version as in authentic Thai style 18LE. Excellent.
Thai Chicken Chop Suey 30LE. Very different from what we expected. First of all it was not fried. It was made of glass noodles. Interesting.
Rice with Chicken & Cashewnut was on the bland side 35LE. Should have stuck with the Red Chicken curry (24LE - steamed rice additional 4LE) which I had last time & was excellent.
Pork with garlic & pepper 21LE was soft, succulent. Devoid of fat.
Bacardi was 20LE for a small.
Soft drink cans are 7.
Highly recommend the Thai Iced Coffee for 10LE.

Sales Tax & Service Charge are extras.

Added on 30 Mar 08:
The Chicken coconut soup is outstanding. If you ask for the spicy version, you will find authentic Thai Birds eye chillies in your soup. - 26LE
The Thai Omlette with Chicken was completely unlike the Fuyong that I was expecting and I found the filling a little too watery for my taste (28LE)
The Vegetables with Oyster Sauce (12LE) is out of this world. The veggies are very very lightly steamed and tossed in the sauce so they retain their crunchy texture and fresh flavours.
The Phad Thai noodles (30LE) had shrimp in them (so I couldn't taste it) but my brother was really happy with it. He sid the shrimps were much much much fresher than any of he other places he had tried in Cairo and comparable to the fish in Alexandria.
The fried Ice Cream (18Le) has a little too much batter for my taste - batter also reminiscent of the fried calamari batter- but my young siblings thoroughly approve of it. With higher praise for chocolate than Vanilla flavor.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sues Kitchen, Bangalore

Wonderful review by Tanay Behera on desicritics

I don't normally link to others reviews, but I just had to link to this one since I echo most of what he has said.

........... The owner, Susan John called Sue is from the West Indies and her restaurant is a cozy nook that you must experience sometime. .....................

................. Though the buffet lunch was priced at a reasonable rate of Rs. 225 per head, we were treated to a delicious spread of about six to seven salads. To name a few there was egg mayonnaise mixed with capsicum, chicken salad, pan fried broccoli, beans and carrot, picnic potato salad, etc. There was soup, which was mouth watering, but I learned about it when I was halfway through the main course and felt kind of upset.
Picture 403

For the main course by means of curries, there was crab curry, mushroom and corn curry, delicious fish cutlets, roasted chicken, Trinidad chicken curry and a yummy vegetable baked dish, among other stuff.

Read his entire post here :

Friday, February 16, 2007

Street Food : Egypt vs India

When I first considered writing about "Street Food in Cairo" the few people I knew in Cairo had a good laugh & cautioned me that having just arrived in the city I was completely setting myself up for the curse of the Pharaohs. Well, being a desi & with an ability to eat the Pav Bhajis & Paani Puris & Vada Pavs on the streets of India, then the streets of Cairo posed no threat at all, so I was all set to explore Cairo by tasting everything it had to offer. (But I did tuck a strip of lomotil into my wallet to be on the safer side)

There’s such a variety of snacks, meals, quick bites & drinks on offer on the streets of Cairo that it would be impossible to try them all in a few days, but I did manage the highlights.

A good day begins with a good breakfast. A fuul or tamiya sandwich is what is considered ideal. I tried these at ............................

Read the whole post on My Egypt Blog

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Johnny Carino's, Cairo

Johnny Carino's
Nile City Boat
Next to 6th of October Bridge

In the mood for Italian, we set out to Johnny Carino's which advertised home style Italian Food. The Zamalek branch is set on the Nile City boat so you can imagine the nip in the air on a January Night. The outdoor seating would be wonderful on a balmy Summer evening but we rushed to the comfort of 4 walls & a ceiling.

Nice & cosy with some lovely black & white & sepia toned framed photos on the wall it does start to impart the feel of a family owned restaurant rather than a chain. The service was alarmingly fast for Cairo standards, but it suited us just fine. Portions are huge & as usual 2 starters filled us up completely.

The chicken nachos had real jalapenos in them although the nachos seemed home made & the cheese was just right at 33LE. The hand breaded Fried Calamari was a little bland for our taste, but was perked up by the sauce (30LE). We wanted to try their home made Lasagna but we had reached too late & they only make a fixed amount of Lasagna each day. As the menu says "when its over, its over" so we ordered the chicken parmigiana which came with some complementary spagheti on the side (41LE) We were already stuffed with the starters & the complimentary freshly baked oregano bread with garlic dip (absolutley yummilicious) so we had to get the Parmigiana packed in a take away container. Reminder to self - Do not order 2nd course in Egypt until you have seen the first course.

We just finished up with a Cappucino & Latte for 11 LE each. They do have a wonderful variety of options on the menu. Worth a visit. It may seem on the pricier side, for a chain restaurant, but this is the range for decent Italian food in Cairo.


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