Events

Fri 01
  • DJ Fabric at Cairo Jazz Club
    DJ Fabric at Cairo Jazz Club
    Aug 01 10:00 pm to Aug 02 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    CJC is back after Ramadan with DJ Fabric's progressive house sets. Reservations at Cairo Jazz Club are recommended; call 0233459939.
  • The Summer Collection of Safarkhan 2014 at Safarkhan Gallery
    The Summer Collection of Safarkhan 2014 at Safarkhan Gallery
    Jul 10 8:30 pm to Sep 30 10:30 pm - Safar Khan Art Gallery
    Safarkhan presents the 2014 Summer collection, showcasing the works of young, contemporary talents. The exhibition will run till the 30th of...
  • Salon Ramadan Exhibition at Darb 1718
    Salon Ramadan Exhibition at Darb 1718
    Jul 17 10:00 am to Aug 16 11:00 pm - Darb 1718
    This year's installment of Salon Ramadan brings together the work of 20 distinguished local and international artists. For more information, call...
Sat 02
  • Ashara Gharby at Cairo Jazz Club
    Ashara Gharby at Cairo Jazz Club
    Aug 02 9:00 pm to Aug 03 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    Ashara Gharby’s assembled crew of eclectic musicians bring you great lyrics through authentic fusions of Oriental sounds, blues and Afro...
  • The Summer Collection of Safarkhan 2014 at Safarkhan Gallery
    The Summer Collection of Safarkhan 2014 at Safarkhan Gallery
    Jul 10 8:30 pm to Sep 30 10:30 pm - Safar Khan Art Gallery
    Safarkhan presents the 2014 Summer collection, showcasing the works of young, contemporary talents. The exhibition will run till the 30th of...
  • Salon Ramadan Exhibition at Darb 1718
    Salon Ramadan Exhibition at Darb 1718
    Jul 17 10:00 am to Aug 16 11:00 pm - Darb 1718
    This year's installment of Salon Ramadan brings together the work of 20 distinguished local and international artists. For more information, call...
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Highlights

Restaurants

Masrawy: New Egyptian Grill Opens in Downtown Cairo

Masrawy: New Egyptian Grill Opens in Downtown Cairo

The newest restaurant to open in Downtown Cairo is the surprisingly sleek Masrawy. Having timed its opening for Ramadan, the new eatery on Bustan Street offers no-frills, wholesome food for fetar and sohour. There are eight hearty meal options to choose from for Iftar and each offer a diverse and healthy mix of foods including drinks and dessert. The cheapest of these eight choices costs 22LE and consists of quarter of a chicken, rice, mixed vegetables, mixed salad, Egyptian bread, Oriental dessert, one bottle of water plus a special fruity Ramadan drink.  You can also replace the chicken for meatballs in a tangy tomato sauce with pasta. The most expensive meal on the fetar menu is the Mixed Grill (80LE); but don't be put off by this significantly higher price because the portion can easily feed two people. The selection of meat is simply delicious.  Included in the Mixed Grill option is: ¼ kofta, ½ chicken, ¼ kebab, 2 juicy lamb ribs, a thick soup, basmati rice, green salad, tahina salad, garlic salad, bread, a bottle of water and finally, that special fruity Ramadan drink. The prices at this new restaurant are highly satisfactory considering the diversity that comes in just one meal choice and of course the large portion sizes that we really love and appreciate.  The service is great too; staff is all dressed in bright orange to match the interior of the restaurant. Masrawy is extremely spacious taking up two large air-conditioned floors plus outdoor seating; it's clean, fresh and almost sparkles beneath that perfectly adequate lighting.  Large tables are available for families or groups of friends plus some quieter tables for two all prepared efficiently and the food is served in stylish ceramic dishes, which really add to the atmosphere and pleasant dining experience. Masrawy's sohour menu consists of a lighter and significantly cheaper choice of meals than feter, but there are only four different choices.  The cheapest of these costs a mere 10LE and consists of a generous serving of chunky foul, two falafel, green salad, yoghurt, bread and water.  On the other hand there is the 'Masrawy Special' which costs 18LE and is highly recommended, consists of omelette, a cheese plate, three falafel, salad, bread, yoghurt, french fries and a bottle of water. There is no daily menu as yet for Masrawy as the focus is purely on Ramadan but the restaurant has managed to burst into the Cairo scene immediately attracting attention and reeling in customers.  The seating is comfortable; the large air-conditioned space is refreshing and they serve a top-notch fetar.

Shopping

Cairo 360 Editor's Choice Awards 2014: Specialist Retailer Awards

Cairo 360 Editor's Choice Awards 2014: Specialist Retailer Awards

The pursuit of shopping in Cairo - for either necessities or leisure - isn't as straightforward as it should be - a fitting metaphor for life in the capital. From the other side of the counter, when it comes to creating a niche market, few retailers survive the cost of educating their customers on their products. Many a business selling top quality products have failed solely because they could not bring in enough consumers. Our Specialist Retailers award winners have not only found a solid base of customers, but have maintained a quality and service that is rarely found around the city. Gourmet Egypt (Specialist Foods Award) If you consider yourself a cook or an avid lover of steak, chances are you've already been to Gourmet Egypt. Known for their incredible selection of top quality meats, fish and condiments, no other retailer can even come close. Plus, they deliver! House of Cocoa (Specialist Foods Award) Boasting a collection of the finest chocolate brands in the world, House of Cocoa comes as a god send to a city that doesn't really understand chocolate. With everything you could imagine from Belgian cookies to chocolate fountains, House of Cocoa is a must try for chocolate lovers.   Kryptonite (Games & Entertainment Award) Looking for a comic book or a weird and wonderful collectible? Kryptonite is definitely where to go. With its toxic green backdrop and shelves stacked from floor to ceiling, Kryptonite is a haven for the avid comic book fan. Play N Trade (Games & Entertainment Award) Boasting a huge collection of video games spanning across all consoles, Play N Trade has managed to create a sense of community between gamers. With very decent prices and the ability to switch out old games for store credit, Play N Trade is a much needed option in an otherwise monopolised market.   Diwan Bookstores (Books & Stationary Award) The warm and inviting bookstore has it all. The great collection, the pleasant atmosphere and the ability to order books that aren't available free of charge all contribute to a great experience. A true bookworm's delight! For a full rundown of the Cairo 360 Editor's Choice Award winners, click here.

Cafés

Maasa: New Oriental Sweets Bakery in Zamalek

Maasa: New Oriental Sweets Bakery in Zamalek

Around Cairo's cafes, restaurants and bakeries, Lebanese and Syrian influence remains strong, with the subtle Levantine touches transform Egypt-familiar foods into something a little exotic. When it comes to Oriental sweets, Mandarine Koueidar has dominated the the market in Zamalek for years, even despite new competition such as Al Samadi. New in Zamalek, Maasa has arrived during Ramadan as a challenger to the throne. The venue is quite small and the glass façade only shows refrigerator which has six different kinds of ice cream, although that sight alone is enough to draw you in. We were greeted pleasantly at the door by a man whose accent gave away his Syrian nationality. Oriental sweets vendors usually have strange restrictions on minimum amounts, as a means of forcing you to buy as much as possible of their product – but there's no such obligations here. A kilo of Pistachio Baklava cost 110LE; crunchy, golden and drenched in honey, we expected it to be much sweeter – which was a pleasant surprise. The pistachio is used generously and tasted freshly roasted. We also tried the Pistachio Hareesa, (55LE per kilo), which was tasty, had good form and a good ratio between the pistachio and the coconut flavoured mash. We tried the Basbousa with Almonds which was a little strange. Surprisingly void of sugar, and with a strong crust versus the grainy semolina we're all accustomed to, it didn't quite hit the mark. The Esh El Bolbol (110LE per kilo) on the other hand was roasted perfectly and with plenty of pistachio. Maasa also sell Malban and Nouga. Pistachio Turkish delight will set you back 120LE per kilo, and has a positively distinct taste without overdoing it with the sweetness. Of the previously mentioned ice cream (60LE-90LE per kilo), because it looked very different to what you'd find locally. We opted for the Damascus Mesteka – as mix of pistachio and cream – and it was divine. Levantine ice cream, or Bouza, differs from regular ice cream in that it pulls from the mesteka and has a slightly different texture, which along with the pistachio made it some of the best we've tried. While Maasa is a safe option in a pinch, its offerings are largely conventional – except for the ice cream, of course.

Nightlife

Wahawi Ramadan Lounge: Chilled Ramadan Sohour by the Nile in Zamalek

Wahawi Ramadan Lounge: Chilled Ramadan Sohour by the Nile in Zamalek

Cairo isn't a city that takes special occasions lightly and there are few bigger occasions in Egypt than Ramadan. But despite the hullabaloo of it all, Wahawi Ramadan Lounge brings a much-needed serenity to proceedings. Following its success last year, the Ramadan kheima – which sits pretty along the Nile on the breezy rooftop of Le Pacha 1901 in Zamalek – has once again emerged as a perfect alternative to the big, brash rationales of the traditional Ramadan tents. Attracting a much younger crowd than many of the other Ramadan tents around the city, Wahawi doesn't rely on the gimmickry of nostalgia and the increasingly elusive pursuit of a 'quintessential Ramadan experience'. Instead, Wahawi keeps things unfussy and laidback – because there's nothing worse than being force-fed the sounds of an unenthusiastic takht group, as can be found at this time of the year across the city. The setup and decor plays as big a part as any other element; use of the traditional khayameya print is kept to tasteful touches here and there, the music is subtle and the dimmed lighting is perfect – it really is the little things that count. Similarly to last year's setup, tables with couches for large parties line the edges of the space, with small, more intimate tables taking up the centre. Each seating arrangement is appropriately positioned to give patrons a pleasing type of seclusion and cosiness without sacrificing its overall amiable hustle. Each of the larger tables is afforded a flat screen TV – with World Cup matches being shown – and a Playstation console, as well as a range of different board and card games. In terms of the food, frequenters of Le Pacha will be pleased to find the venue's usual selection of dishes with the addition of a few extras across both Egyptian and Lebanese cuisines. On a breezy evening, our party of four headed to Wahawi and we left with bulging bellies and pleased palates. Of the cold mezze options, the cheese with zaatar (24LE) was excellent, while the cheese-stuffed safayeh (30.90LE) – a Lebanese version of dumplings – were equally as delicious. Beyond the picking-dishes, if you will, there are also full blown meals more suitable for fetar – which Wahawi also offers. And, of course, what Ramadan kheima would be complete without shisha, which is served and attended to alertly by staff. Yes, Ramadan is big, loud and gaudy; but Wahawi streamlines the sohour experience, making it a great place to unwind.

Arts & Culture

Mawaweel 2014: Festival Returns with More Alternative Ramadan Fun

Mawaweel 2014: Festival Returns with More Alternative Ramadan Fun

Now that we're in the third week of Ramadan, the usual routine of dragging your tired carcass out of bed in the morning and sitting through work like a zombie before dragging your carcass back home for a pre-fetar nap should all be out of our systems. But you'd be forgiven for getting caught up in systematic hibernation that seems to wash over Cairo during Ramadan - it's hot outside and there isn't really much to do. This weekend, however, cultural festival, Mawaweel returns, thanks to more good work from Darb 1718 and the Cairo Jazz Club Agency, who have put up in impressive line-up of entertainment for this year's edition of the festival. Taking place over two weekends (Thursday 17th-Friday 18th and Thursday 24th-Friday 25th) the first two nights feature live entertainment. On Thursday, things kick-off with a tahbeet performance, before Hawadiro Band take to the stage. Rounding the night off is, Ghalia Benali, who is no stranger to Cairo crowds, following a string of performances this year that have seen the Belgian-Tunisian singer perform everywhere from Cairo Jazz Club to El Genaina Theatre. On Friday, the nought begins with more traditional Middle Eastern entertainment in the form of a tannoura performance. This will be followed by more live music, courtesy of the Sufi-inspired performers of Mawlawiyah and Alexandrian band, Ashara Gharby. Outside of the stage, there's plenty to keep Cairenes entertained, with a bazaar showcasing the best of local artisanship, plenty of food and drink forsohour as well as screenings of short films, amongst other things. For more information on Mawaweel 2014, click here. 

Health & Fitness

Ramadan in Cairo 2014: How to Stay Healthy and Hydrated

Ramadan in Cairo 2014: How to Stay Healthy and Hydrated

Although we're already one week into Ramadan, it doesn't get easier for many especially when combined with the summer heat and the rigours of a job. The core of the problem is quite simple; Ramadan is not about food. While the debate between how healthy fasting really is goes back and forth, one thing is for sure;  if you're not sensible, it's probably going to be bad for you. Although it's worth mentioning recent research findings have lead scientists to believe fasting can help regenerate the immune system by triggering stem cell based regeneration of white blood cells. Immune system aside we've assembled a short list of valuable tips involving what to do and what not to do, exercise, smoking and coffee. Finding yourself regularly drained of energy? You need a high fibre, slow release complex carbohydrate for sohour containing whole grains, fruits, yoghurt and nuts that digest slowly and release energy throughout the day, keeping you fresh and alert. Find yourself regularly dehydrated? Stop drinking coffee, tea and soda. Caffeine speeds up dehydration. Cigarettes don't help either. Drink plenty of water between fetar and sohour. Find yourself completely drained after Fetar? Your stomach is probably in shock from over indulgence and/or fatty fried food and sweets. This is the single biggest reason for weight gain in Ramadan. There's a reason the Sunnah is to eat dates and milk, go pray, and then come back to eat. It allows the stomach, which has been inactive for about 15-16 hours, and your metabolism to readjust. It's best to only have salad and soup, and then eat a bigger meal a couple of hours later. Ramadan drinks like Amar El Din, Tamr Hindi and Hibiscus are also good because they provide enough sugar to pump some energy back into you. Can't find the time to exercise? If you're looking for time before the call to prayer, you're fighting an uphill battle. Dehydration is one of the worst things you can do to yourself while fasting. That's even worse if you exercise outdoors because you should avoid the sun as much as possible while fasting. However, if you get yourself used to having a light meal for fetar and then take a 15-20 minute walk, it'll help regulate your body functions and give you the energy needed to exercise later in the night after you have digested a bigger meal. Not smoking giving you a skull splitting headache? You're also fighting an uphill battle, because you have two headaches. One from the nicotine withdrawal and another from the dehydration cigarettes are causing you. While there is no fitting time to quit smoking, a whole month where you don't smoke for over half the day might not be such a bad place to start the process. Find yourself gaining weight? You must understand that the three usual meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner are not very healthy to begin with. Lessening them to two is even worse. There's a reason why athletes and body builders eat five spaced out meals throughout the day. Eating less does NOT make you lose weight, eating right and understanding how metabolism works does. Try to break up your eating into different courses between fetar and sohour. Good luck and Ramadan Kareem!

TV & DVD

Ramez Qersh El Bahr: Sadistic Ramadan Prank Show

Ramez Qersh El Bahr: Sadistic Ramadan Prank Show

First, it's important to establish that we cannot place the blame in its entirety on Ramez Galal for his sadistic show. A big part of the blame should fall on us, the viewers, who eagerly wait for pranks and spike the show's ratings, even reaching the point where café owners will blast these shows on large TVs to attract customers. It's time to admit that there's a sadist in all of us. The premise of the show is a guest will come in to film an episode about the World Cup on a zodiac boat out at sea. The boat malfunctions, one of the presenters dives in to see what's wrong, and the events quickly escalate to the boat sinking with the guest and a fake shark attack. In the episode with Rania Mahmoud Yassin and Mohamed Riad, it's interesting to point out that the boat didn't sink entirely, and Rania kept a firm clutch on her sunglasses in a situation where any normal person would've let go of his/her belongings in exchange for safety. We ignored these points at first, but after several mentions on TV and by other viewers, we couldn't help but wonder. The show comes with a lot of legal issues this year, of which, a case that Athar El Hakim filed against Galal, banning her episode from airing, under the pretence that the prank extremely frightened her. The truth behind that is in question, after a video of her discussing her pay for the episode was leaked. Other legal issues concerning the show include damage to marine life from planting metal poles to support the hidden cameras.  Because nothing is black and white, it's important to admit Galal's sense of humour and experience, especially when it's imitated by an artist like Mohamed Fouad in his show "Fo'sh Fil Mo'askar", a stale and completely void of humour prank show. We have to admit, we were impressed by the shark boat Galal uses to rescue the guests. He is a smart actor who was able to establish himself within Ramadan TV and create shows that people wait for year to year.

Music

Sia: 1000 Forms of Fear

Sia: 1000 Forms of Fear

Singer-songwriter, Sia Furler, is by no means a household name. Fans of Zero 7 will be familiar with the thirty-eight year old Australian, having provided vocals on all three of the British duo's albums. Sia herself has previously released four solo albums between 1997 and 2010, with relative success. Her fifth and latest release, 1000 Forms of Fear, marks her return from a self-imposed sabbatical of sorts, during which she worked with some of the biggest popstars on the planet, including Rihanna, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Beyonce and even Celine Dion – not as singer, but as writer.  Her return has been eagerly awaited by fans, while here work with pop royalty has introduced her unique brand of alternative-pop to a wider audience. The album kicks off with 'Chandelier', which is heavy on Rihanna influence; an r&b-tinted stadium pop opener.  Similar spirits carry 'Big Girls Cry' and 'Burn the Pages' and it's not till fourth track, 'Eye of the Needle', that fans will hear something familiar – a sweeping pseudo-ballad that sees Sia at her angsty best. 'Hostage' will also please fans, seeing Furler introduce her trademark bubbly milieu to an otherwise quirk-less album; it's playful, fun and catchy – characteristics that can also be found in varying degrees on 80's inspired track, 'Free the Animal', and, to a lesser extent, 'Elastic Heart', featuring hipster-r&b act, the Weekend, and LA DJ/producer, Diplo – a song that was featured on the soundtrack for 2013's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Sombreness is never too far away on 1000 Forms of Fear, however, and 'Straight for a Knife' and 'Fair Game' sees Sia take on more gravity. The album ends in a striking crescendo of energy, with more of the same grand stadium pop. Unfortunately, 1000 Forms of Fear finds itself as victim of Sia's own doing. As a whole, the album's sound is somewhat derivative of the direction that pop has taken in recent times, particularly through female artists. Essentially, while she co-wrote some of the biggest songs of the last few years, the alternative pop trend that she helped to create from behind the scenes has passed her by as a vocalist. Despite this, 1000 Forms of Fear succeeds in two ways; it's her most accessible album to date, but long-time fans will spot the evolution of her music into darker, broodier waters.
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Win! Fetar for Two at Kempinski Nile Hotel's Blue Restaurant
Win! Fetar for Two at Kempinski Nile Hotel's Blue Restaurant