Events

Wed 01
Thu 02
  • Ghalia Benali at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Ghalia Benali at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Jul 02 9:30 pm to Jul 02 10:00 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Tunisian vocalist, Ghalia Benali, flies in from Belgium to perform her special brand of Indian-influenced music at El Sawy Culturewheel's...
  • Gipsea Band at Westown Hub
    Gipsea Band at Westown Hub
    Jul 02 10:00 pm to Jul 02 11:30 pm - Westown Hub, SODIC West, 6th of October City, Cairo
    Westown Hub gets a little Latin flavour this Thursday, as Alexandria natives, Gipsea Band, take to the stage for a night of Flamenco music....
  • Ramadan Nights 2015: A Night of Religious Spirituality at Cairo Opera House
    Ramadan Nights 2015: A Night of Religious Spirituality at Cairo Opera House
    Jul 02 9:30 pm to Jul 03 11:00 pm - Cairo Opera House
    Led by Dr. Alaa Abdsalam, the Religous Ensemble perform at Cairo Opera House's Open-Ait Theatre as part of Ramadan Nights 2015.  For more...
  • Om Kalthoum Back on Stage at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Om Kalthoum Back on Stage at El Sawy Culturewheel
    Jul 02 9:30 pm to Jul 02 11:30 pm - El Sawy Culturewheel
    Celebrating Om Kolthoum's life and love, Sakia Puppet Theatre are reliving the best of the legendary singer's work through the magic of...
  • 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.
Fri 03
Sat 04
Sun 05
  • 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
Tue 07

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

Lemonada: Peppy Sohour at the Lemon Tree & Co's Ramadan Tent

Lemonada: Peppy Sohour at the Lemon Tree & Co's Ramadan Tent

With the wide array of restaurants and eateries to choose from in Cairo, it's always interesting to see how some of these venues adapt to Ramadan requirements and schedules. While some adopt special set-menus for the Holy Month, others transform themselves into full-on kheyam for that extra edge in the Ramadan dining experience. However, with so many out there, what separates one from the rest? Zamalek favourite, The Lemon Tree and Co, doesn't lack for buzz and has proven to be a heavyweight in the Cairene nightlife scene. Their Ramadan kheima, Lemonada, located atop the Imperial boat, shares that very same buzz, so we couldn't resist going there for sohour. As we walked in, we were taken aback by the bewitching décor and alluring air to the place. Gorgeous lanterns and potted plants were strewn around on ceilings, tables and walls creating a dimly lit, yet irresistible, aura. Pieces of fabric cascaded overhead, which, in addition to the mesmerising music – which they have mixed exclusively for them – completes what we loved the most about Lemonada: the ambiance. We were seated at a high table, which proved to be a bit uncomfortable as time went by, with a great view of all the colourful lights of the feluccas in the Nile. Whilst browsing through the drinks menu, we thought to ourselves, we can't be at Lemonada and not order lemonade. So we opted for just that (20LE) and some peach ice tea (28LE), too. The lemonade was a perfect balance of not too sweet, and not too sour, a match surprisingly hard to find these days. The ice tea could have been a little colder, but it was quite flavoursome nonetheless. As we were being handed the food menu, we couldn't help but notice how attentive and friendly the staff was; we were quite apprehensive that, in the sohour hustle, they wouldn't be and, fortunately, we were proven wrong. For appetisers, we chose the Kobeba Lava (42LE), Classic Falafel (26LE) and Butter Paprika Sweet Corn (32LE). The Kobeba, stuffed with cheese, was a delightful twist on a Ramadan favourite and we very much enjoyed how the cheese didn't overpower the Kobeba – as we thought it might. The Falafel, on the other hand, were a bit bland and lacked that classic Falafel crunch, but were good once coupled with warm bread. The Sweet Corn was as it should be, buttery and golden, and though the paprika was subtle, it definitely added to the overall flavour. For the main course, we decided to sample some of their Feteer. With so many options, we picked the Chicken Rosemary Feteer and the Soujok Feteer (78LE each). The Chicken Rosemary was delectable, with hints of rosemary marrying nicely with the chicken and cheese. The Sojouk was equally scrumptious; the pomegranate reduction on top was strange at first, but proved to be a great flavour pairing with the bell peppers and sojouk. Before dessert, we were craving some shisha, so we ordered some Bluemist (35LE) from the hilarious and amiable designated Shisha guy, and he did not let us down with either flavour or coal-maintenance. Now, for dessert; we had Zalabya Yonani (48LE) and Mixed Berry Madness (52LE). The Zalabya, though we would have liked it to be a little warmer, was quite delicious, the ice cream adding a nice, cool, element and completing the dish. The berry concoction, meanwhile, was an explosion of sweet berry heaven over a bed of meringue, topped with a scoop silky smooth ice cream; we would definitely recommend it if you have a sweet tooth. Overall, though the prices were a bit steep, the night was quite enjoyable, and we would definitely go again.

Arts & Culture

Duroub Gallery: Group Exhibition

Duroub Gallery: Group Exhibition

When Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, his response was "…then what are we fighting for?" Stylish flooring, iridescent, white walls and two spacious levels Duroub Gallery in Garden City demonstrates exactly that, with a group exhibition featuring the works of over fifty artists, Artist Samir Abdel-Rahman, born in 1947, has a collection of 30 oil paintings on display at as part of the exhibition, focusing on Egyptian culture entwined with Islamic Art and iconic motifs. One of his paintings portrays three rows of Egyptian men dressed in white galabeyas dancing, playing music and celebrating; though the figures are mostly white shapes with tanned faces, the background is a mixture of vivid orange and fiery red implying heat, energy and festivity.  The painting is set out like the early Pharaonic wall paintings that exist to tell a story. The story here is clearly one of joy and celebration, perfect for during Ramadan.  Mohamed Yousef is another talented artist contributing to this exhibition with a colourful, cubist style painting, rich in colours and symbolism.  One particular painting portrays a Bedouin woman garbed in shiny jewellery and colourful attire.  There is a white bird present at the bottom of the female's face which could be a symbol of peace; the woman's face is strong and the centralised position could imply importance.  The second floor of the gallery displays, not only paintings, but also ceramics, jewellery and textiles both for viewing and sale.  A pair of medium sized, pearl earrings cost 120LE. There is also a selection of stylish pendants created from glass plus some beaded jewellery.  Hung upon the wall is a beautiful collection of tiny, framed ceramic pictures; some feature old buildings in Cairo with tiny windows carved into the clay, others are of coral with glass fish in vivid colours.  The contrast between the glass and clay creates a strong effect as the fish appear closer and stand out more due to their bright colour and shiny surface compared to the coarse feel of the clay.  Overall these pieces are tiny, delicate yet beautifully created. In addition to the numerous paintings, fine jewellery and these tiny creations, the exhibition also contains some amazing, intricate wire sculptures, which can be admired and appreciated from all angles. Duroub Gallery's goal is to create chemistry in art between different generations and bring them together through one diverse exhibition, to which we feel it has been successful.  It really is a marvellous mixture of talent; art mediums and forms making it well worth a visit to Duroub Gallery.

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!

City Life

Cairo Weekend Guide: Mawaweel, Hayy Festival & Lots of Ramadan Events!

Cairo Weekend Guide: Mawaweel, Hayy Festival & Lots of Ramadan Events!

Traditionally, we all like to go into hibernation during the month of Ramadan. Places close, watering holes run dry and we're generally just too tired - either from fasting or from the inevitable post fetar food coma - to leave the comfort of our air-conditioned homes during the summer heat. This week, we say: no more! Here's some of the things you can do this weekend On Thursday, Mawaweel's alternative Ramadan experience kicks off it's first Thursday night bonanza at Darb 1718, with live music shopping bazaar and art exhibitions, while brass-band The Blowers take the stage at SODIC West's Westown Hub. Popular band, Salalem, will be performing at Eat & Barrel's Ramadan Fel Hara kheima, while 3elbt Alwan in Zamalek will be host to Shady Ahmed and Mohamed Salem for a night of music and comedy. If you're in the mood for something a bit more cultured, you can attend the Warsha Theatre Troupe's night of music and theatre at the ROOM Art Space in Garden City; or you can catch Gamalat Shiha's special Ramadan performance at the El Sawy Culturewheel. On Friday, you can catch the much-loved Sharmoofers for some comedic music at SODIC West's Westown Hub, or you can go a bit more serious with Sufi singer-poet-musician, Abdullah El Miniawy, performs at 3elbt Alwan. The Hayy Festival 2015 will be kicking off at the Greek Campus in Bab el Louk with the Mina Project, the Palestinian-Portugese band, bringing eclectic their mix of folkloric music from across the Mediterranean region. Le Meridien Cairo Airport's tent will also have its first Goma3a El Kebira sohour at their funky tent, Fawazeer. They've even got Karakeeb performing. Saturday will see the Hayy Festival continue, with Moroccan artist Nabyla Maan giving the Greek Campus a night of Arab-Andalusian music. You've also got the choice to go either contemporary or classic with Kayan, a local rock band, at Garden City's ROOM Art Space, or Ahmed El Saidi conductorship of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra at the Cairo Opera House.  While events might be fewer than usual, the Ramadan spirit has washed over the whole city and options for sohour are plentiful.  Stay tuned to the Cairo 360 events calendar for more. 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.
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Win! Lavish Spa Treatment at Kempinski Nile Hotel
Win! Lavish Spa Treatment at Kempinski Nile Hotel