Events

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  • Ramadan Nights 2015: Ibrahim Rashed at Cairo Opera House
    Ramadan Nights 2015: Ibrahim Rashed at Cairo Opera House
    Jul 05 9:30 pm to Jul 05 11:00 pm - Cairo Opera House
    Ibrahim Rashed will be performing at the Open-Air Theatre as part of Ramadan Nights 2015. Tickets are 25LE. For more information,...
  • Group Exhibition at Duroub Gallery
    Group Exhibition at Duroub Gallery
    Jun 21 11:00 am to Aug 30 6:00 pm - Duroub Gallery
    Garden City's Duroub Gallery hosts a huge group exhibition, bringning together the works of fifty artists. For more information, click here.
  • Sufi Shrines & Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition at Al Ghouri
    Sufi Shrines & Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition at Al Ghouri
    Jun 21 9:30 pm to Jul 13 12:00 am - Al Ghouri Complex - Qubbet Al Ghouri
    Cultural hub, Al Ghouri Complex, hosts a special Ramadan exhibition that looks at Arabic calligraphy and the stunning traditional Sufi shrines....
  • Summer Collection 2015 at Safar Khan Art Gallery
    Summer Collection 2015 at Safar Khan Art Gallery
    Jun 10 10:00 am to Sep 30 9:00 pm - Safar Khan Art Gallery
    Safar Khan Art Gallery in Zamalek hosts its annual summer collection, bringing together the works of some of Egypt's top artists. For more...
  • Cinemania Exhibition at Darb 1718
    Cinemania Exhibition at Darb 1718
    Jun 13 10:00 am to Jul 31 10:00 pm - Darb 1718
    Cultural hub, Darb 1718, hosts a unique exhibition that sees eleven local artists contribute to a homage to Egyptian movies of the 60s, with...
Mon 06

Highlights

Restaurants

Ramadana: Huge Fetar at One of Cairo's Oldest Ramadan Tents

Ramadana: Huge Fetar at One of Cairo's Oldest Ramadan Tents

As per every Ramadan in Cairo, tents – or kheyam ­– have popped up all over Egypt's capital, all offering fetar and sohour options, sprinkled with entertainment and other quirks. One such place is one of oldest tents around, Ramadana, which this year is taking place at Riverside in Zamalek. Having started in the earl nineties, Ramadana can rightly be considered a trailblazer of sorts when it comes to the modernised kheima culture. Naturally, with such a popular tent, reservations are an absolute must – and the sooner, the better. When reserving, we were told that fetar is served a la carte, though we arrived to find set menus. Misinformation aside, we arrived to find the venue fairly empty, but there was still a generally amiable Ramadan atmosphere thanks to the decor – colourful wooden ahwa chairs and table tops adorned with modern adaptations of traditional Islamic designs. The set menu price is 205LE per person, before tax and service, and includes soup, Ramadan drinks, appetiser dishes, as well as mains and desserts. Firstly, the service is outstanding; water and Ramadan drinks were delivered to our table a suitable fifteen minutes before the call to prayer, while the other dishes arrived five minutes beforehand. Beginning our meal with a cream of chicken soup, the opening dish was a perfect fast-breaker, so to speak; the pieces of chicken were plentiful and the soup as a whole was full of flavour and well-seasoned, while our Ramadan drink, karkade, was chilled to perfection and not too sweet as is so often the case. The appetiser dishes, meanwhile, were a mixed bag, despite coming in hearty servings; the hummus and the vine leaves were excellent, though the tehina and baba ghanough were, unfortunately, not. Both suffered from a lack of balance with the ingredients, with the baba ghanough particularly suffering from the roasted aubergine element dominating the dish. The set menu also included pasta with white sauce, minced meat and sprinkled, peculiarly, with grated carrot, served in a tagine bowl; the penne pasta used was cooked well and the sauce was creamy and tasty; the surprise element, however, was the carrot, which gave the dish an interesting textural contrast, but if there is to be one criticism, it's that it all very heavy. The real star of the show was the main course; grilled chicken and kofta. The dish affords the diner a half-chicken portion, which was marinated with onions and tomatoes amongst various seasonings and spices. The chicken was perfectly cooked, tender and retained all of its juices. The kofta was equally as pleasing, if less complex in flavour; cooked and seasoned well, it was also surprisingly light and came in a huge portion. Moving on to the dessert, we were expecting classic Egyptian dish, Om Ali, as per stated in the menu. Unfortunately, it was unavailable and we were instead given the option of mahalabeya, rice pudding or a plate of Oriental sweets. We went for the latter two, with the rice pudding being incredibly creamy and, again, not overly sweet. The Oriental sweets, meanwhile, offered an eclectic variation, but was overall unspectacular, though in no way offensive, either – maybe forgettable is the best word to describe it. With all that in mind, Ramadana's fetar is very much geared towards the idea that Egyptians love to feast at dawn; the set menu offers a pleasing array of dishes, each served in typically large Egyptian portions. Though it was far from perfect, it certainly offers value for money, and the highlights are much more memorable than the downfalls.

Shopping

Boho Gallery: One-of-a-Kind Picks at Quirky Zamalek Boutique

Boho Gallery: One-of-a-Kind Picks at Quirky Zamalek Boutique

There's an increasing problem with what you might call mainstream shopping venues in Cairo – think of imported chains and brands, and local ones that follow the same trends. Most items are both generic and mass-produced, resulting in hundreds of others rocking the same outfits and looks – which is not cool, of course. That's why clothing boutiques that offer only one or two pieces from each design have come to hold a special place in the heart of true shopaholics. Located in Zamalek, Boho Gallery offers a collection of bold, unique clothing items that are both imported and designed locally by young Egyptian designers. The store has a relaxing vibe, with the minimal décor allowing the clothing items and accessories to stand out. A previous review of Boho Gallery's Heliopolis branch had praised the shop's eclectic range of products and its reasonable prices, so we were hopeful that this was still the case. Offering all kinds of women's apparel, one can most definitely build up a whole outfit from the quaint shop. From quirky, bejewelled denim shorts, to evening wear, swanky dresses, handbags, accessories, swimwear, sneakers, kimonos and kaftans – more than enough clothing options are on display. Our eyes caught a collection ZAAM handbags lined up in a corner, including the basic bucket bags (450LE). Heading over to the vests and kimonos section, we loved the short floral vests (400LE), a black and white Aya Ashraf Designs kimono (290LE), a long white lace Medany Designs maxi kimono (500 LE), an eccentric pink-fringed kimono by Nada Akram (330LE) and a white lace beach coverup (380LE). In the middle of the shop, we found a table boasting all kinds of gold-coloured jewellery, including earrings, bracelets and necklaces. We, however, loved the long arm cuffs (700LE). All throughout our visit, the staff was quite friendly yet not all overbearing or pushy, retreating to allow us to shop freely yet offering to help when needed. Boho Gallery is quite the delight to visit and shop in. We love the fresh concept of the store's offerings and how helpful the staff was. Needless to say, we couldn't quite leave without treating ourselves to one of the dozens of pretty kimonos on display. 

Cafés

Carousel: Ramadan Goodies at Heliopolis Favourite

Carousel: Ramadan Goodies at Heliopolis Favourite

With Ramadan comes the potentially deadly challenge of trying out as many of the mouth-watering desserts that Cairo's patisseries come out with every year. It's like there's an on-going competition of who can create the most sugar-loaded dessert- not that we're complaining. Located in a lively part of Heliopolis, Carousel's mint-coloured theme makes it stand out against the general grey tones of the street. The moment you step inside, you notice just how relaxingly uplifting the Alice in Wonderland décor of the place is. To say we were dazzled by the wide array of desserts on display would be an understatement. Our eyes first fell upon the dozens and dozens of dessert cups on display including Banana-Nutella Kunafa, Red Velvet Kunafa, Blueberry Kunafa, Aish Saraya, and Black Forrest Kunafa. We also saw a few others treats, including large bowls of Banana-Nutella and Red Velvet Kunafa, as well as Maltesers Kunafa and Kunafa-Mango. A very sinful-looking Kunafa Fudge Cake also caught our eye from the display. Other desserts Carousel is known for include Nutella-stuffed Zalabya and Toasted Atayef platter that comes with blueberry, Nutella and caramel dips. We made up our minds and went for the Red Velvet Kunafa Cake (170LE), that was swiftly boxed by our cheery server. Did it live up to our expectations? Well, let's just say our taste buds were singing with joy at the first taste. Overall, the cake was sweet without being overly so, even with the fresh cream cheese frosting. The thin layer of kunafa, however, added the Ramadan-touch to an otherwise mainstream dessert. All in all, Carousel totally catered to our westernised craving for oriental desserts with a twist. We loved how friendly the staff were and the vibe the venue carried. We'll definitely be going back to try more of their Ramadan creations!

Nightlife

Ramadan in Cairo 2015: Top Sohour Spots in Egypt's Capital

Ramadan in Cairo 2015: Top Sohour Spots in Egypt's Capital

We've already established how integral food is to the classic Ramadan experience, but there's a bit more to it than gorging ourselves at fetar. By the time you actually sit down at the table to break your fast, you have already gone through all the ways you are going to devour that mahshi, or that kofta you've been dreaming about all day. This is why many Egyptians enjoy, and fuss over, Sohour just as much as Fetar, making the Cairene nightlife scene all the more popular during the Holy Month.     With many a tent and restaurant boasting the ideal Ramadan experience, we've picked out some of the ones to keep in your radar. Wahawi Ramadan Lounge Event Republic's stylish lounge, Wahawi, returns to Le Pacha Zamalek for hearty meals and laidback shisha nights. With a little something for everyone, Wahawi is perfect for a night with family and friends.  Their carefully crafted menus, quality shisha, games and entertainment has made it a popular sohour pick. For reservations, call 0100-294-7111. Bab El Nil (Fairmont Nile City) With Fairmont Nile City's open-roof setting and that perfect Cairo weather, Bab El Nil is sure to have you in an ultimate chill mode. For sohour, the Fairmont's renowned chefs have been working meticulously to bring you a truly delectable selection of Ramadan inspired food and when all of the above is coupled with live music and breathtaking views, well, it sells itself. Call 02-2461-9494 for reservations. Fawazeer (Le Meridien Cairo Airport) Widely agreed to be the quirkiest tent out there, this colourfully contemporary gem aims to breathe new life into 90's pop-culture, reanimating such icons as Fatouta and Sherihan. Held at the luxurious Le Meridien Cairo Airport, Fawazeer guarantees an eccentric twist to your sohour experience, offering several different games consoles to keep you entertained in between bites. With actual Fawazeer for you to solve and music to keep you entertained, this kheima is definitely a must-go. To book, call 02-2265-9600. Ramadan Fel Harra (Eat & Barrel) Transforming from popular Cairo hangout to Ramadan wonderland, Eat & Barrel has gone all out this Ramadan. Replacing some of their iconic décor pieces with Ramadan inspired knick-knacks and festive furnishings, Eat & Barrel is offering a distinct and authentic Arabian atmosphere, with some of Egypt's biggest bands and musicians set to perform. For reservations, 0101 649 6999. 3al Markeb Speaking of sailing off into the distance, 3al Markeb is a similar concept, offering eight lounges with some rather tempting little features – how does each table having its own popcorn and cotton candy machines sound? The drawback here is that the lounges are docked, but with sohour buffet, live entertainment and NOLA Cupcakes providing nibbles, you won't miss out on the Ramadan experience. Call 0102-7987-904 for reservations. Jayda (Conrad Cairo Hotel) One of two special Ramadan venues at Conrad Cairo Hotel this year, Jayda is, by far, one of the best places to have your sohour thanks to the hotel's consistently excellent food and the Lebanese restaurant's uniquely calm, but traditional, ambiance -  live Oriental takht, great food and great shisha. For reservations, call 02 -2580-8000. Som3a Basha (Cairo Marriott Hotel) When a tent is named after Ismail Pasha, and is held at a palace that was built for him, you know it's got to be good – and Som3a Basha definitely lives up to expectations. Take a stroll down memory lane for sohour as you sample traditional Egyptian street food from the live cooking stations Som3a Basha has to offer. To reserve a spot, call 02-2728-3000. Sequoia Embracing natural surroundings with their edgy design concept and amazing Zamalek views, Sequoia hits the mark again this year reclaiming its place as a perfect sohour venue. With their popular shisha selection and wide variety of different cuisine selections, Sequoia is up there with the greats, and highly recommended for a laidback Ramadan night. Call 02-2735-0014 for reservations. Fawanees (InterContinental Semiramis) Combining spectacular Nile views and live entertainment every weekend, Fawanees provides a definitive sohour experience. Offering a sohour set-menu and one particularly large and impressive octagonal fanoos, there's no going wrong with one of the city's most underrated hotels. For reservations, call 02-2798-8000. Ramadana (Riverside) Founded by marketing mogul, Tarek Nour, Ramadana has paved the way for luxury Ramadan events. Boasting a night of extravagance and merriment, the sohour hotspot is frequented by many of Egypt's A-list celebrities – so while you're there, keep an eye out for them. Along with the great food, of course. Call 0121-280-1290 for reservations. Lanterns (The Clubhouse, Uptown Cairo) Boasting a stunning and unique view, Uptown Cairo's Clubhouse is situated perfectly for a breezy Ramadan evening. With traditional sohour food on offer, the tent hosts live Oriental music during weekdays, as well as some of Cairo's top bands on weekends. The Lounge (InterContinental Citystars) Lebanese sohour buffets, live bands and DJ sets await at the InterContinental Citystars' Ramadan activities, with the hotel's tent, the Lounge, standing as one of the sleaker spots in Cairo to enjoy late nights during the holy month. For reservations and more information, call 02-2480-0100. Stay tuned for more Ramadan suggestions and review on Cairo 360 – Ramadan Kareem!

Arts & Culture

Art Corner Gallery: 'Ramadaniaat' Group Exhibition

Art Corner Gallery: 'Ramadaniaat' Group Exhibition

Ramadaniaat is colourful exhibition marking the month of Ramadan at Art Corner Gallery in Zamalek showing an esquisite collection of paintings by seventeen talented artists. One thing that each of these paintings displayed all share is the reference to Cairo and the month of Ramadan. Art Corner may be a small gallery space and not as easily spotted as it's neighbouring galleries but their exhibitions are both alluring and clear to their purpose, for instance within just one minute of being inside its walls the festiveness of Ramadan is almost leaping off the canvases. The first painting to captivate us, a large oil painting by Cairo-born artist, Gihan Maher, portrays a dusty street in Cairo painted in monotonic tones except for the colourful Ramadan decorations and a fanoos hanging above an arched entrance.  On top of those monotonic tones is a sprinkle of yellows to light up the scene and add some zest and sparkle.  The contrast between the sandy background tones and the brighter colours used for the decorations emphasise that it is a time of celebration and of course the fanoos stands proud as a symbol of Ramadan.   Waleed Yassin, another Egyptian Artist, born in 1961 has several paintings displayed upon the walls and, like Maher's,  they too focus on the scenic side of Cairo.  One of his most beautiful paintings displays a boy in the street balancing a plate in one hand which suggests he is working as a waiter or perhaps with the traditional foul cart.  The most remarkable thing about this painting is the way the artist has managed to capture the realistic tones of the hair, skin and clothes in the natural light and the joyful emotion on his face.  From a distance this piece could easily pass as a photograph right up until you stand an arms length away and only then are those extroadinary brush marks so apparent and vivid. Waleed Yassin also has on show a detailed and scenic painting of El Calaa Square in Cairo with a view of El Iman Al Shafai Mosque beneath a blue, cloudy sky.  His overall style is quite photographic from afar despite the strong brush marks that give his paintings their personal touch. Another painting further into the gallery space that caught our attention was a still life piece with collaged elements featuring Islamic symbols and texts.  Bold marks, vivid colours and intricate patterns taken from the designs upon the mosque are what makes this painting so interesting and pleasing to the eye.  Known for his use if bright, flamboyant colours, Taher Abdel Azeem also contributes to this exhibition through an esquisite painting of Old Cairo by night with all its glowing extravagance.  For anyone that has been to Old Cairo will not only recognise the buildings in this painting but also that famous glittering glow that rests on all the intricately designed architecture.  However, it was the final piece of art that deemed to be the liveliest of all, in the form of an abstract swirl of colours there to illustrate the Tannoura as it spins with the dancers.  . This intriguing exhibition not only encapsulates the celebration of Ramadan, but also awakens us to all  sides inlcuding the preperation, the symbols and the celebration mixed with glittering memories of Old Cairo. 

Health & Fitness

Ramadan in Cairo 2015: Staying Healthy During the Holy Month

Ramadan in Cairo 2015: Staying Healthy During the Holy Month

Ramadan is upon us and the revelry of it all has started to seep into Cairo, as households and venues alike add the final touches to preparations for the Holy Month. Charity, piousness, late nights and, of course, food are some of the main elements that will have begun to swirl inside the minds of Cairenes, but there  still seems to be a lack of caution when it comes to staying healthy while fasting. It's an issue that has been made all the more crucial this year thanks to a particularly unpredictable spattering of soaring temperatures, but it's also an issue that is easily remedied. Dehydrated? The most common issue fasters come across in a city like Cairo is dehydration. It's crucial to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water between fetar and sunrise and try to avoid coffees, teas and soft drinks – caffeine will speed up the dehydration process, as will cigarettes. Lack of energy? With your body not getting its usual nutrients, it's normal to feel tired and drained. What you need here is high fibre, slow-release carbohydrates, especially for sohour. Eating whole grains, fruits, yoghurt and nuts will help keep you fresh and energized the next morning. Weight gain? Another common side-effect of approaching Ramadan wrongly is weight gain. First of all, don't try to eat as much as you would in a normal day in the hours between sunset and sunrise – that's simply not how it works. The lure of pigging out is certainly tough and so if you do go all out with fetar, try spacing out the foods into courses, for example. This gives your body a chance to readjust to the shock that comes from breaking your fast and gives your dormant metabolism time to get going. Exercise? Exercise is a tricky thing to navigate during Ramadan as it will invariably dehydrate you, especially before sunset. First of all, try to avoid prolonged periods in the sun when exercising, working out or playing sports. Many athletes who fast will have a very light meal to break their fast, before undertaking some very light exercise for no more than half an hour – even just going for a walk. This will help regulate your metabolism and the release of energy if you want to go for a more intense workout later on. The biggest thing to remember is to strike the Golden Mean - nothing in excess, everything in proportion. All in all, though, when it comes down to it, it's all about being logical and sensible. Fasting has been proven to have health benefits, but only when done correctly and judiciously. In a busy, bustling, sweltering city like Cairo, it's absolutely essential that you take care of your body – because, if you don't, it will catch up to you. On that unintentionally grim note, Ramadan Kareem!

Sights & Travel

Orascom Hotels & Development’s Joubal Lagoon in El Gouna Sells Out in No Time

Orascom Hotels & Development’s Joubal Lagoon in El Gouna Sells Out in No Time

What can you say about El Gouna that hasn't been said before? The seaside locale has always stood as the premiere beachside getaway in Egypt and Orascom Hotels & Development's slice of heaven expanded this year with the introduction of Joubal Lagoon. Having officially launched in Easter, it was sold out in no time - yeah, its hot property. The turquoise resort town is crowded year round and those lucky enough to have houses there often find themselves playing host to as many guests as they can. El Gouna's properties are so coveted that units essentially sell themselves out before construction. Situated halfway between Abu Tig Marina (our favourite nightspot!) and the New Marina, Joubal Lagoon overlooks a stunning blue lagoon that promises to forever eradicate all thoughts of traffic and pollution. In keeping with Orascom Hotels & Development's environmental philosophy, Joubal Lagoon has been designed with the natural surroundings and environmental sustainability in mind. Orascom Hotels & Development deserve recognition for maximizing energy efficiency. Essentially a self-sufficient town, El Gouna has everything. Do you want to party all night and then send your children to good schools in the morning? Do you want to play golf and have access to a world-class hospital? Do want to chill, kite-surf, and then go to a Bibliotheca Alexandria affiliated library? Of course you do – education is the future. Foodies will find themselves in culinary heaven: You can eat world class sushi, steak, Italian, and French cuisines any day of the week.   So don't panic if you are looking to buy in El Gouna, although Joubal Lagoon was sold out in the blink of a sparkling eye, Orascom Hotels & Development is already developing new projects.

Music

New Wave of Electronic Music: Eight Rising Cairo DJs to Look Out For

New Wave of Electronic Music: Eight Rising Cairo DJs to Look Out For

Egypt has a storied history with music and the arts, but what we might consider the contemporary or modern music scene(s) are relatively young; there are only a handful of venues for musicians to get regular gigs at and the collective Cairene conscious isn't always inviting to the new and the different. But something is, and has been, rumbling; festivals, including Oshtoora, Theater of Dreams and SANDBOX, are becoming more and more frequent, longer and better-attended; event organisers are appearing left, right and centre, and the electronic music scene is possibly benefitting most and experiencing a rebirth of sorts. Everyone is well versed with the better known DJs in Cairo – think Amr Hosny, Mohasseb, Tamer Auf and the like. Most of them have been around for years and will continue to gig around the capital and elsewhere; but a new and steady wave of talent has been washing over Cairo like a cool summer breeze; venues like VENT are ready and willing to give some of the more obscure DJs and producers a shot and initiatives like Student DJ providing a platform for exposure and learning. This new blood can only do wonders for the music scene and there are already a few names that have already shined – ones that you should look out for. MAN-O Man-O excels at breaking the rules and has been seen doing so most recently at Maadi bar, the Tap. While everyone expects standard four-on-the-floor house beats, Man-O will very easily surprise you with his ability to go in and out of musical styles on a whim. You may even think of him as Minus T's prodigal son. Chiati Chiati is one of the youngest DJs and music producers in Cairo. Previously the guitarist to rock band, Bandetta, he launched his DJ career shortly after taking part in Student DJ 2014, making his electronic music debut through local label, Besworx. His style revolves around darker, moodier techno cuts – perfect for after parties. kidmims; Fresh out of the 2015 Student DJ program, Mai El Sabi has quickly propelled herself through the ranks of rising DJs in Cairo. Regularly gigging in Cairo Jazz Club, Mai is challenging the stereotypes about female DJs, and doing so in spectacular style after garnering a loyal cult following in a matter of weeks after she first showcased her talents as part of SDJ. Nour Fahmy Student DJ 2015's runner-up in what was a close final. Though the tech-house loving DJ may not have won the competition, Fahmy left his mark and has gone on to amass a following of dedicated fans that have followed him around Cairo and Egypt. Mohamed Sadek Tripoli-born DJ, Mohamed Sadek, is Egypt's own king of all things indie and disco. This young talent has been around since the first wave of Electrum Records' Red Beats DJ battle competition, and was one of the first DJs to unleash French disco before the fad took over Cairo's music and nightlife scenes Saleh Amin Making his debut at Nacelle's House Sessions, Saleh hit the ground running and very quickly made a name for himself by playing an outstanding opening set for Danish heavyweight DJ and producer, René "Noir" Kristensen and is scheduled to play a set you definitely don't want to miss at SANDBOX 2015 in Gouna at the end of the month. Gaser The winner of Student DJ 2015 isn't built like the atypical DJ. Cairo 360 assistant editor by day, tech connoisseur by night, Gaser first emerged on the scene by making his debut at a special Nacelle event with another musical endeavour of his, the Meteors Project, whose live performances use electronic beats and live instrumentation. Since winning SDJ, he has gone on to be part of local label, Besworx. M Fayek & Sebzz We love duos, and while both M Fayek and Sebzz have established themselves individually as top DJs, they are solid prrof that two heads are better than one, often unleashing immense back-to-back sets featuring deep bass lines and interesting, unique melodies.
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Win! Lavish Spa Treatment at Kempinski Nile Hotel
Win! Lavish Spa Treatment at Kempinski Nile Hotel