Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sports Cafe, Cairo

Sports Cafe
37, El Batal Ahmed Abdel Aziz St.
Mohandaseen
3345 8425/8426/8427

We had heard that this is THE place to go to, to grab a bite while a football match is on, but hadn't managed to catch a match here yet.

Today, it was on our way and we really wanted a coffee, so we decided to make a stop.

The first look inside the Cafe, did not inspire any confidence. It looked tacky and run down. But having heard good reviews, we decided to curb our instinct to turn around and actually brave it.

The interiors were all in red and yellow with seats at the same height as the tables, so it is not the most comfortable of seatings but Its worth a visit.

Their coffee was much better than many of the versions we have had at coffee shop chains around the city. We tried the Cafe Latte (10.95) and Cappuccino (12.95), both of which were very good.

Their Maradona Sandwich was highly recommended but it wasn't available. Oh yeah, most food is named after footballers. We settled for a Zidan Delight - hot dog with sausage and peppers (16.95) and a Zinger Burger (23.95) - this was really huge, twice the size of something at say Hardees.

Food is a mix of American & Mexican influenced cafe food.

The good thing is that there are no extra charges added to your bill. The prices you see in the menu including service charge and taxes. The only other place in Cairo that I have seen this is at Lucilles in Maadi.

Food and drink was better than average. Ambience wasn't too great, but it can be ignored. This looks like a place that students wanting to watch a game would hang out at. Maybe I should return when a big match is in progress :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Condetti, Cairo

Condetti Restaurant & Cafe
Locations in Dokki and Maadi
33 Amman Street, Off Mohi ed Din abu el Azz st. 3760 4114
10 Street 82, off street 6. 2359 2440

We ordered a home delivery from Condetti.

Portions are on the smaller side for Egypt. My Ceasar Salad(25LE) was half the size of a similar salad at Crocodile Grill, Fuddruckers, Chillis or Trianon. But I must admit that it had a nice grilled chicken and just the right amount of cheese to give it flavour without beating the purpose of ordering a salad (light and crunchy)

The Fried mushrooms (26LE) and the Condetti Chicken wings (21LE) - chicken wings stuffed with mince and crumb fried - were interesting but lost their punch in the delivery. I'm sure they would have tasted much better at location, freshly out of the hot oil.

The Condetti Burger with cheddar (29LE) was average. The cheese was not the regular sliced cheese, but it was not something I would go back for.

The Quattro Formaggi (33LE) was Penne pasta in a 4 cheese sauce, that was small sized but very filling. They do offer a pasta in white sauce with mushrooms which might have helped bring some texture to the dish.

They charge 4LE as delivery charge and delivery was quite fast. I was suprised to see a man in a full sleeved shirt and tie bring in the delivery. Only in Egypt :)

They offer breakfasts, a wide variety of coffee and other drinks. Soups, Salads, Pata, Pizza, Main dishes of meat, fish and chicken and desserts. Nothing to stand out though.

It was a reasonable experience, but not one I would be enticed into ordering again. I may try the dine in option sometime and check if that will improve my opinion of this restaurant.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hardees, Cairo

Hardees fast food locations are spread out all over Cairo and beyond. Their home delivery (19066) service practically covers every corner of the city. Their restaurants are pretty decent to sit down in too.


The nuggets at Hardees in my opinion are much better than those at McDonalds or KFC. The nuggets are sold as chicken stars (7.95 Le/6 pieces, 10.68Le/9 pieces, 11.82 for a happy meal - 4 stars + fries + small drink)

They have a lot of great burger options which aren't available at McDonalds. Tops among these are the roast beef and cheese. Then is the hot dog (remember the kids meal version comes minus the chilli-mince sauce and raw onions). The mushroom n swiss is great but can get a bit messy. The Santa Fe and the Jalapeno chicken are better geared toward the population that likes a hint of spice in their burgers.
Check out their Complete menu


While the curly fries are my absolute favorite item on the menu, I do wish they would bring the chilli cheese fries to Cairo too.

The great thing with Hardees is their large variety of burgers. You will definitely find an option to satisy everyone in your group.

While they do offer home delivery, this kind of food always tastes better fresh out of the fryer. Fries tend to get soggy and both fries and burgers don't taste the same when zapped in the microwave. The cheese goes runny, the crisp lettuce gets cooked, the mayonnaise melts into the bun, ughhh I could go on. So especially with winter upon us, this may not be the best time to order a home delivery from here unless you are really stuck for options at home. But its definitely worth a take away or dine in option.

Thai Express, Dubai

Thai Express
Dubai

This restaurant currently has 3 branches across Dubai. I've eaten at their Lamcy Plaza (04 334 0445) outlet, but this is my food court stall of choice at the Dubai airport (04 220 0890/892).

Especially as this is normally my last dose of spicy food before returning to Egypt. The Airport branch often runs out of items or may not serve them even if they are on the menu.

The Khao Phad Thai(28dhs) is quite good. Its definitely not the best Thai in Dubai, but a great option at the airport especially if you are stuck in a stopover situation.

They have a lot of vegetarian options too. Soups are about 16dhs. Appetisers are also 16dhs, but I've only found spring rolls available at the airport. The main chicken/beef/seafood dishes come with plain noodles or plain steamed rice. They are in the 28-29dhs range. The chicken red curry and spicy fried chicken with cashew nuts re my favourites altho the sweetness in the second dish gets more cloying as you progress.

They have a pretty interesting lemon grass drink called Nam Traklai-6dhs which is very light and refreshing and not too sweet.

As I mentioned before, this is a decent option if you are stuck in a stopover situation.

Rainforest Cafe, Cairo

Rainforest Cafe
City Stars, 5th Floor, Phase 1
Nasr City
Cairo

Rainforest Cafe is an American theme restaurant that has recently opened a branch here in Cairo. As the name suggests, the interiors are done up in the style of a rainforest with robotic animals. Cairenes would be familiar with this concept as Planet Africa has had 2 branches in the city since ages. But in my opinion the Rain Forest Cafe is much better in terms of experience, food, service and entertainment for young kids.


We visited the restaurant with friends and their 8 year old son, who thoroughly enjoyed himself right from the atmosphere and decor, to the giant aquariums, the thunderstorms at half an hour intervals, the complementary coloring books they gave him and his kids hot dog meal (20LE)

The property is huge spread over 2 floors, so seating is rarely a problem.

There is a wide variety of drinks, even the Ice Tea (14LE) comes in multiple flavors. Alcohol isnt served, so all the cocktails are actually mocktails. The banana pina colada was 19LE and the mosquito mojito and lemon juice were also 14 LE. I quite enjoyed my mojito and found it very refreshing. Large Bottle of water is 9LE.

The kid had his mini hot dogs for 20LE. 2 good sized hot dogs and plenty of fries which was too large for him. Even the kids meals are huge portions.

The cobb salad was 55LE. The fish and chips at 64 was a little too oily (think Chicken crispers oily at Chillis) for my taste, but my husband quite enjoyed it. The Amazon beef fillet (93) was excellent quality meat. I had the Maya's mixed grill which at 119LE is a bit expensive but it comes with 3 different types of meat and in really large portions, so it can be easily shared by 2.

They had a very interesting looking dessert called "the volcano" We were too stuffed from our main course to even attemot dessert, but maybe next time....

There is a merchandise shop at the entrance which could be quite a challenging expedition with demanding kids. Fortunately the little boy in our group did not fall in this category and we managed to emerge unscathed.

Its a wonderful place to take your kids. although the place is large there is only one entry/exit and the staff at that point are very careful that unattended kids aren't allowed to cross that point. I have heard mothers with younger kids say that the experience was overwhelming for the little ones. 6-7+ seems a good age to take them in.

Read an article about the opening of the cafe on Business Today Egypt

Thai Chi, Dubai

Thai Chi
Pyramids
Wafi City
Dubai
+971 4 324 0000

Lovely decor and ambiance with the frontage of a Thai house sheltering the glass front of the kitchen. The head chef is the stern yet sweet looking matronly Thai lady who presents her dishes with a flourish across the counter at the glass kitchen.

A complementary dish of fried prawn crackers is served while you wait.

A bottle of water will set you back 18 dhs.
We ordered a sampler appetiser platter which came with 2 pieces each of fried shrimps, fish cakes, chicken in pandanus leaf, vegetable spring roll and chicken set in a mussel shell and deep fried. Quite tasty and served with a variety of different flavored sauces for 142 dhs. Everything was tasty. Nothing was over spiced or over flavored. The sauces were a mix of sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy. (as is normal when serving Thai cuisine)

We then had a phad thai chicken (54) which was served in an egg parcel and was excellent.
We weren't too hungry and couldn't eat too much. Will definitely return another day with a better appetite.

Most dishes are in the 50-60dhs range except for the exotic sea food.

The restaurant serves both Thai and Chinese cusine. You can choose between indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor seating has the air conditioning but the outdoor seating allows you to enjoy the (mostly) live music from the amphitheatre right beside it.

Prices are in the Mid Range for Dubai and there were plenty of groups and families enjoying an evening out at the place.

We were pleasantly surprised to receive a 20% discount as we paid with our HSBC cards. There is also a Wafi City Card which can give you similar discounts across the mall which can be purchased from the Service Counters.

Saravana Bhavan, Dubai

Saravana Bhavan
Karama
Dubai
04 334 5252/ 336 9109

I first had the good fortune of eating at the original Saravana Bhavan in Chennai over 12 years ago. At that time it was the low cost of quality food that drove me there. But with that initial experience I was hooked, I have since had the opportunity to eat at 2 of their US locations and now the one in Dubai too. What is outstanding is the adherence to quality, hygiene and strict standardisation, so the food tastes the same, no matter where in the world you are eating.

Saravanas Bhavan is a saving grace for many South Indian Brahmins who are posted abroad, especially Tamilians since this is the style of Saravanas Cooking. this is a very similar style to Udipi cooking in the sense that the dishes as named in the menu may seem the same. It is the flavours which differ. this difference makes its most marked presence in the sambhar (lentil and vegetable curry) The Udipi Sambhar has a sweeter flavour to it while the Tamilian one tends to be more spicy.

The only problem with visiting most Udipi and Tamilian restaurants at lunch times is that they will only serve you meals (no idlis, no dosas, no vadas - just meals)

The meals themselves are quite good. Most restaurants will also give you free refills on everything. Saravanas Bhavan is no different. The advantage of visiting Udipi and Tamilian restaurants anywhere in the world, is that you don't have to bother about hygiene at all, as everything is cleaned thoroughly. Part of the cleaning & cooking process of kitchens run by Brahmins (which they used to be and very often still are)

The meals at Saravanas Bhavan are just 15dhs. For this princely amount you can have unlimited quantities of various items. The items change daily depending on what vegetable produce was best that day. There will always be rice as the main item. Some restaurants offer some kind of Indian bread too in the meal.

On the day we ate at Saravanas, we had the following meal. While some items will remain constant, some will change based on availability.
Rasam - a pepper and tomato based thin soup, normally drunk in the beginning as an appetiser and consumed again after the mel as a digestive, sometimes also mixed with rice.
Sambhar - a lentil based curry with vegetables. Always served with idlis and vadas and other snacks.
one more curry on the sour side.
Avial - a curd and coconut curry with vegetables.
Peas kurma - which went excellently with the puris
Potato dry dish.
Buttermilk - to soothes your tastebuds if anything is too spicy.
a sweet fruit salad.
a sweet rice based dish.
Pickles
Rice
Papads
bananas
curd

Very filling, yet very light on the stomach. You can always ask for ghee to be pured on your rice if you crave a slightly richer taste or just have your last mouthfuls of rice with ghee and salt or ghee and sugar depending on what taste you prefer.

A large bottle of water costs 3dhs.

They have a large variety of snacks which are served in the morning and evening in the 6-12 dhs range. There are even packaged snacks and sweets that you can buy to be consumed at home at your leisure.

Nandini Restaurant, Dubai

Nandini Restaurant
Karama
Dubai
04 335 4389

We were both huge fans of the Nandini chain of restaurants in Bangalore. This was also one of my husbands key accounts when he worked with Pepsi. He has eaten here so often that every biryani that he eats is compared against the Nandini biriyani.

The Nandini biryani is more of an Andhra style pulao (unfortunately I never found an equivalent even in 2 years of being based in Hyderabad!) which goes excellently with the Andhra style chicken chilli. The second dish is not for those with weak taste buds. With my love of chillis, I'm normally leaking out of my eyes and nose and have smoke coming out of my ears, but the dynamite taste is worth it.

After missing these dishes for so long, it was such a pleasure to discover that they have a couple of branches in the UAE. The biryani here costs 15 Dhs. You can ask for extra rice (without the meat) after ordering the biryani for 10 dhs (this concept of being able to order dish B only after ordering dish A is a uniquely South Indian restaurant concept.) The chicken chilly (not to be confused with the Chinese Chilly chicken that is also on their menu) is 13dhs.

As is usual with most Indian restaurants (outside Egypt), the biryani is served with a small bowl each of raita and a side curry.

Watching us relish the sauce with the chicken chilli, the waiter obligingly got us more sauce when we had polished the original plate off. :)

We normally supplement this biryani fest with a side dish of baby corn chilli or ladiesfinger (bhindi) 65 or carrot french fry or something like that in the 11 to 15 dhs range.

A large bottle of water, essential with the chillies is 2.5 dhs.

They do provide complementary pappadums and melted ghee (which goes very well even with the biriyani). The table normally has 4 basic condiments. Chutney pudi (better known as Andhra gun powder) gongura (a kind of green leafy vegetable found only in Andhra) chutney, a lime or mixed pickle and another pickle or chutney depending on the season.

Wonderful value for money with excellent taste.

I heard this restaurant had recently moved locations, will update the address once I find the updated one.

Mezbaan, Dubai

Mezbaan
Opposite Al Mansoor Video
Al Musallah Road
Bur Dubai
Dubai
Tel: +971 4 351 7863

A little Hyderabadi joint tucked into a corner on a busy street. We discovered this by chance on our last trip to Dubai. We were walking along the street and my nose liked the smells wafting out of this restaurant. The husband never disagrees with my nose test :) so in we went and proceeded to eat one of the best biriyanis and assortment of kebabs I had eaten in a long while. We later proceeded to order the chicken biryani (17) and the dry boneless chicken 65 (14) for dinner, every single night of the following week as a home delivery. He once even delivered at 2am (most restaurants close by midnight)

He has quite an extensive Menu whatever we have tasted from that menu has been a great experience. We have stuck to the Hyderabadi dishes so far and not ventured into his Chinese dishes yet, which I highly suspect would be Indian Chinese.

Excellent food. Not too oily. The biryani is served with green salad, and a small bowl each of raita and a side curry.

The parathas are excellent too for just 1dhs each.

Very reasonable food but the restaurant is clean and the food is very good.

Coconut Grove Restaurant, Dubai

Coconut Grove Restaurant
Rydges Plaza
Satwa Roundabout
Dubai
04- 398 3800/2222

Small little restaurant located in the Rydges Hotel, it fills up fast, so get there early or try to make a reservation. the restaurant is done up with traditional decor from Kerala but serves food from Kerala, Goa, Mangalore, Chettinad, Balti & Sri Lanka.

We focused mainly on Kerala food with a Sri Lankan dish thrown in to taste and we LOVED it all. The food smelled so awesome, that I couldn't be bothered to take pictures before digging in. The crabs got my fingers all dirty and the camera was the last thing on my mind :)

Service was a bit slow but the food was worth the wait and more. We sipped on a Kurumba punch (tender coconut water, mint leaves and lemon juice - 15dhs) while we waited which was cool and refreshing and helped build our appetites. A large bottle of water will cost you 5dhs. We were served a platter of pappadum strips with a tasty green chutney dip as a complementary starter while we waited for the food we had ordered.

For starters we had the malabar fried chicken - 25 - spicy batter fried bits of boneless chicken, masala fried prawns -50 - batter fried fresh medium sized prawns and deep fried mussels - 30. the chicken and prawns were excellent. Tender, fresh and bursting with flavor. We had asked for our food to be made extra spicyt and the chef obliged. Such a pleasure to eat after what passes as spicy food in Egyptian restaurants. What passes as 10 on a scle of 10 on spiciness in Egypt, would barely be a 3 or a 4 on a similar scale in Dubai or India. The mussels were shelled but were deep fried to a crisp, which meant they werent soft and easy to bite into, they felt a little chewy after the texture of the other starters although the flavor was great.

For the main course, we ordered a crab pepper masala which was excellent at 45. A semi dry gravy this was beautifully complemented with the appams (6 for 2 pieces if plain, 6 for one piece if topped with an egg) and malabar paratha (6)

We also had Gedara Sadu kukulmas - a Sri lankan chicken curry with coconut milk that went well with the idiappam (string hoppers - 3 pieces for 5 dhs)

We rounded off the dinner with 2 from the large choice of deserts to chose from. The Gajar ka halwa (15) was nothing like what my North Indian husband has ever eaten as it was cooked in coconut milk. He was expecting the regular halwa and wasn't too ecstatic about his desert, though he said it did taste good. I tried a famous Kerala dessert called Parippu pradhaman (a kheer made from coconut milk, jaggery and lentils - 15) this is a dish we cook in my hometown too and it brought back many happy memories from my childhoood.

They do have soups and vegetarian options, but the star is definitely the Kerala style seafood.

Excellent restaurant with outstanding food - provided you get a table.

I have heard that eating at Coconut Grove is a gamble. On most days the food is excellent, but on some days the food and service can suck.

Do note that in most restaurants in Dubai the taxes are included in the price of the item as printed in the menu.

Read reviews of this restaurant on
Time Out Dubai
Yahoo Travel

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Revolving Restaurant, Grand Hyatt, Cairo

Revolving Restaurant
Grand Hyatt, Cairo

The Revolving Restaurant is only open for dinner around 8pm. Prior Reservations are required (even if it is a couple of hours before) Jeans, shorts and open shoes for men are a non-no - as the hostess politely informed us over the phone. Jackets aren't required, but wouldn't be out of place either.

This is a lovely restaurant to take your date to with its awesome ambience, phenomenal food, panoramic view and attentive yet unobtrusive service. It is also a place I would recommend for formal business dinners or if you need to impress your (prospective) inlaws or anyone else for that matter.

The lighting is low and the ceiling is decorated with colored LED's forming asteroids, satellites and other heavenly objects :)


The restaurant is situated on the 41st floor. Access is through a private lift on the 40th floor (where you may be seated for awhile but can use that time to order a drink - Yes alcohol is now being served again at this restaurant) The restaurant completes an entire revolution every 75 minutes, situated as it is on the Nile, its an almost panoramic view of the entire city. To disguise its one blind spot, they have created a replica of an Ancient Egyptian temple on the outside.

The Restaurant has an open chef's kitchen. But there were no wafting odors to dull the experience.
Complimentary fresh baked bread was served along with pate and herbed butter. We were hungry and ordered 2 appetisers each. all of which were outstanding.

The Smoked salmon was served with pancakes, mashed potatoes and a salmon mousse.
The Salad St Jacques was pan fried scallops (slightly crisp on the outside, tender juicy & succulent on the inside), served on a crisp potato pancake with marinated red peppers and some greens. I would highly recommend this dish any day.
The Prawn Salad was a combination of king prawns and Scampi with a basil, lemon and avocado base.
The Carpaccio was other worldly. Some of the best that I have eaten. The green dressing and the cheese served with the carpaccio were an excellent combination with the meat.
For the main, I ordered Australian lamb chops which were done exactly the way I wanted. Not too tough, not too soft. The sauce (lamb jus) served with a white bean salad as a base was excellent.
My husband ordered more prawns . But given the superior quality of all the other dishes, he felt this was a bit lacking. He couldn't put his finger on it, but he knew something was missing. This is the only dish that needed something more. all the others were beautifully and perfectly balanced. Since I don't eat prawns unless I have cleaned them myself (long story about allergies) I couldn't check on what was missing. This was served with ratatouille which he quite enjoyed.
We ordered 2 sides of mushrooms and pureed potatoes (Fancy restaurants never say mashed potatoes they say pureed potatoes) The mushrooms were FANTABULOUS!. After all the tinned stuff most restaurants serve as mushrooms, this dish was outstanding. It was a mixture of 4-5 different fresh mushrooms and it had a wonderful woodsy yet fresh flavour. I would even eat this as my appetiser or my main course if I wasnt too hungry.
For dessert, he had the creme brulee which came in three flavours. Mango-jasmine and chocolate were familiar flavors, it was the strawberry-basil flavor that was an eye and taste bud opener.
The choclate fondant that I ordered was my other star of the evening. Crisp exterior, molten interior. Words can't desribe how amazing this desert was. The ice cream accompanying it, could have been a bit better, but the vanilla ice cream was a necessary touch to balance the chocolate. an absolute for anyone - chocoholic or otherwise!
My husband was initially apprehensive about eating French food. Although he had been forced to watch a lot of French cooking programs along with me, he had never encouraged me to try cooking any of these dishes as he felt they would be bland. Fortunatley eating at the Grand Hyatt's Revolving Restaurant has completley altered this perspective. French recipe books are next on the shopping list! (Like I need an excuse)

This was supposed to be a treat for me, so my husband did the ordering without letting me look at the menu. But knowing me for over 8 years and knowing what is good for him, he did let me make my own choices after describing each one to me. I'm not too sure of the rates, but what he said was that appetisers were in the 50LE+ range. Mains were between 80-150LE and side dishes were about 25LE.

Portions are a decent size. Slightly small by Egyptian standards. But it allows you to choose an appetiser, main and dessert for yourself.

Definitely a must visit.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ataturk, Cairo

Ataturk Restaurant
20 El-Riyadh Street
Cairo
Egypt
+20 2 3347 5135

11am - 1am

This is a lovely little restaurant and I think its the only place serving Turkish Food in Cairo. (Please let me know if you know of any others)

From the outside, it may look like a small hole in the wall, but it has awesome interiors with stained glass and paintings and little blue and aqua touches that are reminiscent of Turkey.

Especially lovely is a painting near a side table which makes you feel that you are looking out on a mile long garden, even in the middle of dusty, smoggy, polluted, congested Mohandaseen :)
When you dine in, you are served a huge hunk of oven roasted Turkish bread. If you ask for a takeaway, you are served a softer, flat version of the bread similar to Indian Rumali rotis. They do deliver upto Zamalek and some locations in Giza.

This restaurant doesn't serve many of the dishes that I do associate with Turkey and had the pleasure of consuming on a visit to that country, but it does its best with ingredients and spices readily available in Egypt. The menu at Ataturk may look very similar to an Egyptian/Syrian/Lebanese restaurant. The difference is in the seasonings.

For starters, they have a variety of hot and cold mezze from 5LE to 12LE. The almonds salad 6LE (pictured above) is a tomato dip garnished with toasted almonds. I particularly ike their meat sambusak (10LE) as it is more like the Indian meat samosa than the Egyptian sambusak with a finer/thinner dough. The Hummus Shawarma (12LE), yoghurt with spinach (5LE) and stuffed vine leaves are the other mezze that I like at this place and which go excellently with the Turkish bread.
The ankara kofta sandwich (10.5LE) has to be my favourite main. It isnt spicy, but it has more spices and flavours than the traditional Egyptian version. It is rolled in pita bread with slivers of onions and cilantro. It brought back so many memories of the rolls at Fanoos in Bangalore.

The sandwiches at Ankara are rolled in Pita bread and not hot dog buns.

The chicken topkapi 34 LE (picture below) - half a chicken stuffed with pulao - was not very good when I had it in the restaurant. The rice seemed like it was newly unfrozen and wasn't hot, although the chicken was hot. It was tasty, but the mismatched temperatures killed the dish.

The Special Meat Shawerma Plate (Antakia) Doner (30LE) was very tasty with its onion and other flavorings. We have tried the hagi baba rice - veal liver + pine nuts (16LE) - The Ankara rice - minced meat + green peas + pine nuts (12.5LE) - and the rice with nuts (9LE) which have all been excellent. Never served too dry. The rice is an excellent accompaniment to the kebabs and shawarma plates.

As I have said before, I must admit I find Turkish and Syrian food more interesting than Egyptian food, because my Indian palate craves more complex flavors than just salt, tomato paste and the occasional pepper which most commerically available Egyptian food seems to be flavored with.

Using spices in the food does not mean being spicy. The food at Ataturk is just that. It uses spices without being spicy and the resulting flavours are exciting.

We haven't tried the deserts yet. Maybe someoen else would like to comment on them.

I have had better and faster service with home delivery (20 minutes today, even though we ordered at Iftaar time) than at the restaurant. But the decor and ambience at the restaurant is just so relaxing, that it is worth dining in too.

You can call them directly for delivery or order on otlob.com

Friday, August 29, 2008

Jhama Sweets, Chembur, Mumbai

Jhama is an extremely popular sweet shop in Chembur in Mumbai.

I have an uncle who lives nearby who never fails to pick up a box of their sweets for us when he visits. So I have tried their kaju kathri and various other sweets, whose names I don't even know and found them outstanding!.

Last time, we visited Chembur, I was in the mood for some chaat, so we strolled over to Jhama as we were already familar with the name.

The chaat was as good or even better than their sweets. We had fresh gajar ka halwa, jelebis and faloodas. The process of preparation simply serves to whet ones appetitie.

The gajar ka halwa had so many nuts in it, it was more of dry fruit halwa. But it was still awesome. My words can't convey how good the food was, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Notice the dry fruits on top. Cashew nuts, almonds and raisins
Closer look at the halwa itself
Garma garam jelebis
Falooda being constructed.

Finished product. Its much tastier than it looks like.


Jhama also sells a lot of different namkeen, which are extremely tasty.

Definitely pick up some stuff from here, if you are in the area. But if you want sweets on a festive occasion, then make sure you have placed your order well in advance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Prithvi Theatre Cafe, Juhu, Mumbai

This Cafe was one of my favorites in Mumbai. Yes, you read it right, it "WAS". (check my previous review)

Close to my house, this was where me and my husband often sat discussing the play we were going to watch over a cup of coffee and light snacks like cheese balls or dissecting and analysing the play we had just watched over raan and Prithvi's famous irish coffee :)

I often visited the cafe when I was feeling low on inspiration and creativity and it was marvelous how just being there in that location with the presence of immensely talented individuals like Makarand Deshpande and Kay Kay (does he go as KK now?) among others could charge me up.

There were the occasional Ekta Kapur actresses who would show up for a play, but they were completely ignored by the serious acting crowd (theatre) and the people who went there to watch talented actors.

This adda was like a 2nd home to me in Mumbai. The husband and me averaged at least one play a week and sometimes more than that. I was at the cafe with him or on my own twice or even more in a week.

Service was sometimes slow, but you could see the waiters doing their best to manage it all and you didnt mind. What few people knew was that the cafe had a really awesome dinner menu and it was amazing to sit under those lights hanging from the trees and enjoy a meal.

Once we moved to Egypt we watched on the news that the cafe had introduced a new, more Mumbaiyya menu. On our trip to India in January we decided to go back to the cafe for old times sake and we were HORRIFIED!

There were a new bunch of waiters who did not even seem to know the menaing of the word "service" It took more than 20 minutes of sitting at a table (which we found ourselves after scrounging vacant chairs from nearby tables) before the waiter even acknowledged our presence. Another 20 minutes to get us a menu. The menu had thrice the number of items than before, but not even 10% of them were available. We found this out the painful way, by ordering some items and then being told none of them were available. This process repeated a couple of times, till we finally asked the waiter, "just tell us what IS available" He hardly mentioned 5 items.

Since we were a group and had already waited that long and gone through all the trouble of parking et al, we ordered one of each and told him to bring each item as it was ready in case some items took longer than others to prepare. 40 minutes after ordering, not a single item had reached our table. We asked the waiter about the status and he said "another 15 minutes" without even a trace of an apology in his voice.

So we told him to cancel the order and we walked out. He looked at us walk away with more relief than dismay on his face!

Doubt I will visit the cafe again, unless something changes drastically and they can match the standards of the previous avataar.

Please observe 2 minutes silence for the passing of a great cafe, that once was @ Prithvi!

Oasis, Chembur, Mumbai

My SIL chose this place for rakhi (a festival celebration of the brother sister bond) dinner with her bhaiyya (elder brother).

The ambience was really nice, inspite of the loud kitty party like dinner going on on the premises. (in one of the other rooms)

The dining hall was a large open space with white tablecloths and muted lighting. Very romantic setting if you take a table for two.

The food was the star. Being back in India after ages, I had decided I would only drink and eat Indian specialities. In keeping with that, I ordered a masaledaar chaas (70) and asked them to add some finely chopped chillies to the drink. The drink was outstandingly flavored and balanced and the chillies were chopped so fine, that they did not catch in your teeth (they were chopped not pureed)

They serve alcohol and cocktails too. The Singapore sling (130) was a strawberry flavored cocktail that was interesting. A small peg - 30ml of bacardi was 190 and the diet pepsi was Rs60. The kingfisher pint was 120. Water was 50 bucks for a liter.

The aloo cheese balls(185) were good, but I still crave the taste of the old Prithvi cafe ones at 1/3rd the price and thrice the flavor. The corn tikki (165) was interesting and tasty with lots of corn unlike most locations which overdo the batter holding it together.

The makhmali tukda (190) was the most outstanding paneer I have eaten in a long time. The paneer itself was soft and tender which had been seared to crispness on the outside in a tandoor, but not over done. Highly recommended.

Chicken Hazari kebab (215) was tender, soft and marinated in a malai'ish sauce. Malai and white kebabs are not my favorite (I like more kick in my kebabs) unless its is a malai-kali mirch combination, but this one was worth having a second round of.

For the main course, we ordered Paneer mazedar (205) which tasted suspiciously like a butter paneer with minimal jazzing up. I'd prefer the kebabs any day.
Murgh hari mirch (215) which wasn't very spicy, but tasty none-the-less.
Kulchas and makai roti were 35. Butter kulchas 45. Kulchas were soft and easy to tear apart. the makai roti was kadak in a good way.

The star of my evening was the kacche ghosht ki dum biryani (220) I ordered the boneless variety and I was in heaven. Right balance of spices, browned onions, tender mutton. My mouth stil waters at the memory.

For dessert, we wrapped it up with a malai kulfi (95) and gajar halwa (75) Halwa was really good, but the kulfi was rather generic.

I'd definitely visit again the next time I am Chembur, but I will stick to the chaas, paneer kebabs and the biryani. My own little version of heaven on earth :)

Patio, Gajalee, Mumbai, India

I have always been a huge fan of Gajalee in Mumbai for sea food. I find their sea food better than Mahesh Lunch home or Trishna. (although Trishna's butter pepper garlic crab topples the scales completely)

My husband too loves the food at Gajalee. There was one branch very close to his office in Vile Parle and most office meetings invariably took place there. The days I couldn't send him lunch, he would order in from there. Its a wonder I haven't reviewed this place before, given how often we have eaten there.

Gajalee in Vile Parle is not extremely fancy but it does have an air conditioned room with cushioned seats for those used to those comforts (at a very slight premium) compared to the wooden mess like tables and benches on the rest of the premises.

Our standard order used to be a starter of solkadi (drink made of kokum - red berry- garlic and coconut milk which is an excellent appetiser, digestive and accompaniment to the food) and King fish fry (a large slice of king fish/eeson - batter fried and served with an amazing spicy green chutney which definitely has green mango in it for sourness)

The main course could be a fish or mutton thali (strangely we never tasted the chicken thali) with prawns achari (shrimp in a pickle flavored gravy, high on mustard seeds) on the side. The thali includes rice, a gravy/curry, a dry dish and some vegetable. Very filling and awesomely flavorful.

Amboli - a thick dosa - lentil pancake and ghawne - neer dosa/panpole - a thin flat pancake were normally ordered on the side to enjoy the curries further.

Given that we were both back in Mumbai for 2 days, it was imperative that we visit gajalee for some spicy seafood after Egypt. Since we were closest to Andheri at that time, we stopped at Patio near NMIMS college which also houses a Gajalee. This is a more upmarket version. Prices are higher and they have a lot of North Indian and Chinese cuisine on the menu. Don't let this fool you into thinking that the standard of sea food would be middling. It is not. In fact, it is quite excellent and this restaurant also serves boneless crab.

You have to forgive me for not taking pictures, the food was smelling so good and we were so hungry and craving spicy sea food, that thoughts of taking the camera out of the bag and clicking pictures never even entered my mind!

Back to the boneless crab. While Trishna @ Kala Ghoda does an awesome butter pepper garlic crab, it comes in a shell and that means the butter solidifies as it turns cold while you take time and effort to eat the crab. So while it starts out awesome, by the time you finish, it gets a bit icky.

Not so at Patio. The butter garlic crab comes boneless, so no time wasted and you can eat it with your amboli or ghawne (expalined above). The sweetness of crab meat mingles with the saltiness of the yellow butter, it is cooked in and the garlic adds piquancy to the whole flavor, that just explodes in your mouth.

The dish is a bit expensive at 1250/- but it is completely worth it.

This time they had an innovation called crab green chilli. Similar to the butter garlic crab but with some green chilli thrown in for spiciness. It wasn't over spicy and the chillies did not over power the mild sweet crab flavor, it was just exquisitely balanced. At 1250/- its a must try

Since we had the green chilli crab, we opted for the squid butter garlic (200) which was also outstanding. Not really deep fried or shallow fried but something in between. The texture of the squid was just right with the buttered garlic hugging on to each squid ring.

Of course, we ordered the Solkadi (25) and it felt so good to be drinking this again.

The prawns achari at the Parle location feels and tastes more authentic than the Patio version(250), but husband proclaimed it good (not outstanding but good) . Reasonably medium sized prawns.

The mutton masala (140) was middling. Neither terrible nor as good as the other dishes. While it may have stood out at another restaurant, here it just blended in without making its presence felt.

They did not have king fish, so we couldn't have that.

Ambolis and Ghawnes were 15/- each, soft and tasty. Mineral water was 15.

They do have deserts, but this is the caramel custard, ice cream variety which are a dampener after such a wonderful meal. So I prefer to leave with the flavor of crab or squid in my mouth. But if I remember right, the gajalee in Parle outsources some cheese cake and chocolate cake which were very good. I'm not 100% sure of this though.

The other dishes we have often enjoyed are the fried bombil (bombay duck - a fish not poultry) and the stuffed pomfret. The bombil is fresh not the dried variety.

The sea food at Gajalee is always fresh and tasty and this place is a definite must-visit for the pescatarian.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teriyaki, Mohandaseen


The unique prospect behind this is that not only is the food prepared fresh in front of you, it is also cooked with water instead of oil. Making it an extremely healthy wholesome meal.

Teriyaki has one location at the al Rehab foodcourt, the other is in Mohandaseen at the intersection of el Gazayer and Gameat el dowal el Arabia. Take the turn at Papa Johns and keep going straight, you will see this on the right. They home deliver too. Call 2522 2221.

The interiors at Mohandaseen are bright and cheery although, it was quite deserted when we went there.

Options are Teriyaki rice meals (26-37Le) which is chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu (or a mix of 2 types) teriyaki served with Japanese rice and fresh vegetables.

The same meal can also be exchanged for Yakisoba - Japanese style flat noodles. (28-39LE)

They were both quite tasty. There are 4 sauces available on the side that you can use to supplement the flavours to your liking.

My only wish is that they provide stronger cutlery at the outlet for dine-ins. The plastic forks are too flimsy for Japanese flat noodles, the spoons too small for the Noodle soup Bowl (26-30).

They have some salads and wraps which are often not available.

they also have some sushi dishes (8pieces for 25 LE) that we did not try.

Light (less than 3gms fat in the chicken and tofu options) healthy, flavourful and filling. Wonder if the healthy alternative will catch on Cairo though?


Teriyaki comes form the same people behind Cinnabon

Cinnabon, Cairo

Cinnabon is one of my favourite things in Egypt and among my top 10 list of things that I will miss when it is time for me to leave.

This is what I carry home with me as a gift for my siblings and now my cousins who all request this tasty treat as an Egyptian treat. Never mind that it is an American chain (founded 1985 in Seattle Washington) that entered Egypt as recently as 2003!

There are 3 basic rolls.
The first is the basic cinnamon roll where the pastry is rolled with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and then baked - Cinnabon Classic
The second is the Caramel Pecanbon which is the Classic with the addition of yummy caramel sauce and roasted pecans.
The third is the Chocobon which is a chocolate frosting kind of filling in the roll topped with chocolate sauce.

They all come in 2 sizes - regular (11-16LE) and mini(8-10LE) and some of them come in bite size pieces

I particularly like the cinnasticks (11le-5 pieces) too which are awesome when they are fresh out of the oven and eaten hot with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, roasted pecans all these are available as extra toppings for an additional 2-8LE each.

The basic mixes all come from one location, but the actual baking and rolling happens on site, which is an exciting show to watch as you eat your own cinnabons. In my opinion, the City star pastry chefs are faster and more adept than the other locations (could be because of the faster turnover)

Tacoma coffee and some house blends are available for those so inclined. They are 3-5 varieties of salads and sandwiches for those who would like something non sweet.

Oooh and they home deliver too. This was when we figured our cat has a sweet tooth. After KFC this is only the 2nd home delivered meal she insists on sharing with us :)

Carvel ice-creams are now available a some of the locations.
The cheesecake(18LE) is ok, but I've had better. Same goes for the cookies (8LE)

The Rools are the Star! Fattening but worth an extra hours work out. Awesome stuff!

Mezzaluna - Italian

Mezzaluna
Next to Bull's Eye Pub
32 Jeddah Street
Mohandaseen
02 3335 3273

According to wikipedia A Mezzaluna is a chopping instrument consisting of a single or double curved blade with a handle on each end. They are often used for chopping herbs or very large single blade versions are sometimes used for pizza or pesto. Mezzaluna is the Italian name (meaning Half Moon after the rough shape of the blade) for the item and is the most common name used in the UK.

I had eaten here once before and really loved the food, but I'm not a frequent Italian food eater. I find a lot of the dishes served in Italian Restaurants (not to be thought of as comprehensive introductions to Italian food) to be high on white sauce and cheese.

We decided on the spur of the moment to visit Bulls Eye pub since we were in the area, but since we did not have reservations, we were kindly guided to their sister restaurant.

They do serve alcohol and I had an awesome tequila for 20LE which did not need to be disguised with salt or lime. (Yes, thats the mark of a good tequila) Vodka was 25LE. They do serve some wines but they also have free corkage on imported wines if you would like to carry your own .

They offered a free starter of bruschetta with an olive tapenade dip, which was great. Light and appealing.

We ordered the fried calamari (32LE) Please ignore the order as a craving for deep fried sea food. I don't think this is a real Italian starter but it was tasty served on a bed of shredded lettuce and with a salty butter dip.

The piece-de-resistance was the Jambon cuit au gratin(24LE) which was a slice of bruschetta with a rolled slice of ham on top, white sauce inside the roll and cascading down the sides. yummo!

Their menu keeps changing regularly, so you may not get tomorrow what you enjoyed today, but there will definitely be some items on the menu that you can enjoy.

Husband had a ravioli gorgonzola (blue cheese stuffing and walnut dressing) - 28LE, which was quite good but not as good as the apricot and chicken stuffed ravioli with almond slivers that I had, had the good fortune of tasting on my previous visit.

The veal Ossobuco (55LE) was falling off the bone and was served with a mildy flavoured turmeric and parsley risotto. A far cry from the traditional saffron flavored risotto except for the colouring, the mild risotto was a perfect foil for the heavy tomato and garlic based ossobuco. The risotto tasted best with the marrow from the bone which was light, yet buttery.

We ended the meal with a decadent chocolate fondue (32LE) which was served with banana, peaches and apricots. I had so hoped for cake and ladies fingers. Hence, I ended up drinking the fondue when I could take no more of the fruit. The chocolate had a fine hazelnut taste which leads me to suspect that it was no more than a melted & diluted nutella. But whatever it was, it was extremely tasty.

Loved the food on both visits and highly recommend it to anyone seeking Italian food in Cairo.

For more reviews check Egypt Today or Al Ahram

Trianon Cafe, Mohandaseen

Well, inspite of my middle opinion of Trianon in Alexandria I still went ahead and prdered home delivery from them in Mohandaseen.

The first time I ordered the Trianon grilled steak with pepper sauce and mashed potatoes (40LE) the steak was tiny, the sauce and mashed potatoes were awesome and in hindsight the size of the steak was just right for my stomach.

The second time I ordered it, I asked them to make it a little less than well done, (because last time it got too hard) and forgot to mention the extra spicy bit. The steak was done to perfection, but no sauce at all. It was just some pepper flakes sprinkled on the top. I don't know if this is because they completely forgot the sauce or because the previous time I had ordered extra spicy sauce.

The sauce is what gives the steak and the mashed potatoes the kick. Buttery and peppery goes great with the meat and the taters
.
The Ceasar salad last time had a bit too much of anchovies in me and the fishy taste overpowered all other flavours. Plus the salt had formed clumps which exploded unpleasantly in my mouth.

This time's Spaghetti bolognaise (27 LE) was a better experience but too much fat content and not enough sauce. I could feel the cholesterol building up as I nibbled through my husbands dish.

The mocha eclair was large and lovely if it had been left basic. The extra sugar icing on top was just too sweet, but once we scraped that off, we really enjoyed the underlying eclair and lightly flavoured mocha cream.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wessaya, Cairo

Wessaya
Multiple Locations
Cairo
11am - 2am

Wessaya is a local fast food joint with a subway sandwich kind of menu. Take a look at the menu here

They are owned by the same company that owns Sbbaro and Cantina Laredo.

Their outlets on the whole are small with limited seating space and they focus on the take-away and home/office delivery clientele.

Their bread is soft and moist when eaten fresh. But because of the toasting it may harden if kept for too long.

The spicy sandwiches are truly spicy and suit my Indian palate, so for me thats a good thing. Go for the regular options if your spice tolerance is low.

My personal favourites are the
Lahaleebo (spicy fried chicken fillet + lettuce + mayonnaise) Large 12.65Le, Medium 10.45LE
Chicken Panee (fried chicken pane + lettuce + mayonnaise) Large 12.10LE, Medium 9.90LE
Mexican Hot Dog (hot dog slices + spicy Mexican sauce) Large 9.90LE, Medium 7.70LE

Their fries are good and not overly salted for a change.
Nuggets are good but not as good as KFC/Hardees.

Since they are open till 2am and they deliver home for a 4LE charge - they are quite good for the midnight munchies.

If you are interested in the business angle behind Wessaya, Read this article from Business Today, Egypt

Friday, May 02, 2008

Trianon Cafe, Alexandria

Trianon Cafe,
Green Plaza
Alexandria

The same menu as their Cairo counterpart.

Nice setting in the Green Plaza Their sandwiches were yummy as were the fries. The pizza looked good, but I didn't try that.

The Viennese coffee did not look as exciting when it came to the table as it looked in the menu picture. But it did taste pretty good.

I had the angel hair pasta in cream sauce with chicken. It was interesting. Not outstanding, but pretty good.

The pasta and the Viennese Coffee with tax and tip was about 60LE.

Brownies, Alexandria

Brownies,
Green Plaza,
Alexandria

On the high recommendations of a friend and her niece, I decided I would not leave Alexandria without a stop at Brownies on my next trip to the City.

Brownies is located in Green Plaza in Alexandria which is part of the Hilton Complex.

Unfortunately, we had already had a late lunch and coffee, before we got to Brownies. So as a compromise, I decided to get them packed, so I could reheat them at home for consumption. The menu showed a range of coffees and some desserts and crepes. The brownies aren't on the menu, but they are available all the time.

10Le (tax included) gets you a lovely brownie with a scoop of ice cream and tons of chocolate sauce.

When I reheated the stuff today, the brownie was quite good, good texture but not nutty enough. The fudge melted amazingly well on reheating and regained its consistency once it was poured over the ice cream and brownie. The ice cream was a disaster, that was to be expected since it had obviously melted on the 4 hour ride from Alexandria to Cairo and refreezing it wasn't a good idea. Fortunately I had a tub of vanilla ice cream in the freezer which I used for the brownie. It did taste pretty good.

Not as good as the Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae at Hard Rock Cafe, but pretty good competition. But this one cost just 1/4th of the HRC sundae, so its more VFM. (HRC sundae now costs about 40LE)

Nice open area to sit in the garden, if you plan to eat in. Guess I'm gonna do that next time and enjoy the service too.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Al Tazaj, Cairo

Al Tazaj
Multiple Locations
Cairo
Common home delivery number 19018



I apprehensively ordered a Roast chicken from Al Tazaj using otlob.com Its the Egyptian franchise of a Saudi chain.

The apprehension was essentially because most commercially cooked roast chickens in Egypt have no added flavoring except heavy doses of salt. And my Indian palate craves flavoring. Not just chilli but any kind of flavoring.

I hit a winner with Al Tazaj. I ordered a Barbecued Chicken Meal Combo from their menu which included 1 whole chicken, served with sesame paste salad + French fries + Pepsi + eish. All this for just 27LE.

I had to wait an hour for the delivery, but it was worth it. The chicken was small (maybe about 750 gms)and hence tender. It was butterflied and marinated in a mix of garlic, lemon, black pepper and a few other herb and spices. The meat was tender and the skin was crisp without being charred. Lovely consistency, lovely taste, amazing flavour. The BEST roast chicken I have eaten in a hotel in Cairo. This is the first time I am eating Egyptian food from a restaurant that I did not add any hot sauce or other sauce too.

Their website states that These tender birds are fed only natural ingredients (our own special feed formula). Then, fresh from the farm they are marinated in a secret blend of fruits and vegetables then grilled to perfection over wood charcoal. The unique, delicious taste of TAZA BarB.Q. is one of a kind! I Agree!

I also ordered a basbousa which came in its individually wrapped box for 4.75LE. It may seem a little pricey for its size, but if my calculations are right, the special nuts they used as topping are more expensive than almonds, pistas or cashewnuts. The flavour was unlike any basbousa I have eaten before. It was a cross between the regular basbousa and an Indian sweet called milk cake (when full cream milk is cooked with sugar till it dries up into little granules) It was topped with those Sudanese (kiri?) nuts.


I'm very happy with this place and know where I'm going to order from the next time, I crave a good barbecued chicken on demand.

They have a delivery charge of about 5Le and of course sales tax of 10%. There is a 17LE minimum charge for delivery.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grand Snacks and Sweets, Chennai

Totally inspired by the masala (blend of spices) given to us by our Tamilian friends Lux & Moorthy, I sent a shopping list to my mom who was visiting Madras for her visa. The parcel has just reached me. YIPPEE!

Karakuzhambu paste, onion thokku, pepper rasam masala, and that tamarind thing - is it Pulikachal?

Also she has sent me a bit of sambhar and rasam powder of theirs to try out.

I don't need to cook anything other than rice for the next one month. Hahahahaha

I'm so kicked with myself. Already tasted all of them. They are awesome!

If you want to buy some yourself or get it shipped to you, the address is:
#24
2nd Main Road,
Gandhi Nagar
Adyar
Chennai - 600020

Phone: 044-24914213

Read more about Grand Snacks & Sweets in The Hindu

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hard Rock Cafe, Cairo

Hard Rock Cafe Cairo
Grand Hyatt Cairo
Corniche El Nile, Garden City
Cairo, Egypt
+2(02) 5321277/81/85

Hours:
Restaurant:
Sun - Sat 12:00PM - 4:00AM
Merchandise:
Sun - Sat 11:00AM - 4:00AM

It started with an Eric Clapton guitar (a Fender Lead II, for the gearheads in the audience). The beginning of something that nobody even knew was beginning.

It was just a goof. A laugh. A joke among friends.

Back in the seventies, Clapton - the original guitar god, founder of Cream and Derek & the Dominoes, creator of the immortal "Layla" - liked to eat at this quirky American diner in London called the Hard Rock Cafe. The place was this funky old building that used to be a Rolls Royce dealership, and it was run by a couple of young Americans who liked to keep it loose. Founded by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two enterprising and music-loving Americans, Hard Rock Cafe was an instant classic. You could be yourself at the Hard Rock. It was good food and a good time.

So Clapton got to be friends with the proprietors and asked them to save him a regular table, put up a brass plaque or something. And the young proprietors said, “Why don't we put up your guitar?” They all had a chuckle, and he handed over a guitar, and they slapped it on the wall.

No one thought much more about it. Until a week later, when another guitar arrived (a Gibson Les Paul, by the way). With it was a note from Pete Townshend of The Who which read: "Mine's as good as his. Love, Pete."

The young proprietors put it on the wall. After that, the guitars never stopped coming. Today there are more than 70,000 guitars, drums, pianos, harmonicas, microphones, shirts, pants, scarves, shoes, handwritten lyrics, cars, bikes, a bus and assorted rock memorabilia - by far, the largest, most valuable such collection in the world - on the walls of over 138 Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos in 42 countries around the world.

But it all started with the one.

And about 30 years later, the Hard Rock Cafe opened its doors in Cairo.

With an extremely large seating space, the HRC doubles as a restaurant during the day (with even a special day for little tots with face painters etc) and a club at night.

They boast one of the best selections of spirits in Cairo. And a large variety of cocktails mixed to perfection. My personal favorite is the Golden Rita (All margaritas are 70LE) Long Beach Ice Tea (59LE with cranberry juice instead of the cola in a Long Island Ice Tea - also 59LE) Rum Runner (46LE) Drinks like Cognac are 72LE a peg. Or you can keep the alcohol for a post meal experience by trying one of the Irish Coffees (57LE) with Irish Cream, Tia Maria, Irish Whiskey or Amaretto as the base.

On Fridays they have a special offer of unlimited beer & buffalo wings for 99LE.

The Jumbo Combo (59LE) is a great appetiser with a mix of Onion Rings, potato skins, Santa Fe Spring rolls (although I prefer The Southwestern egg rolls from Chilli's) Buffalo wings & chicken tenders with 4 different sauces. A little bit of everything for everyone on the table to taste.

I've had some great food here too. The pulled lamb sandwiches, Twisted mac (39LE), blackened chicken pasta (35LE) and burgers are all great. They more than fill you up as the portions are really large.

But its the deserts that are to die for. In particular - the Fudge Brownie Sundae (29LE) Its not only awesome, its completely VFM.

The Apple Cobbler (29LE) is also good, as are the cheesecakes.

Decor is the standard Hard Rock Cafe type with guitars, pictures and other rock memorabilia all over the place. What isn't standard is the gorgeous view of the Nile from the French Windows all around. By night or by day, the Nile is a very relaxing & calming sight. The feluccas during the day and the lights at night add much character to the scene.

Staff are friendly, responsive and speak fluent English (English speaking staff is a problem in some of the other restaurants/pubs in Cairo)

They have the standard Hard Rock gift shop with overpriced clothes & pins & glasses which you can shop at if you are a collector. Otherwise the same t-shirts are available in Khan el Khalili for 10LE :) LOL

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