Events

Sun 25
Mon 26
Tue 27
Wed 28
Thu 29
  • Art at Alchemy: Hala ElSharouny
    Art at Alchemy: Hala ElSharouny
    Jan 10 7:00 pm to Jan 31 11:00 pm - Alchemy
    Master painter and expressionist artist, Hala ElSharouny brings her dark whimsical art to play at Alchemy throughout January 2015, subjectively...
  • Rango at El Dammah Theater
    Rango at El Dammah Theater
    Jan 29 8:00 pm to Jan 29 10:00 pm - El Dammah Theater for Free Arts
    Head to El Dammah Theater for Free Arts for a unique night of mystical Sudanese and Nubian rhythms, as Rango return for another mesmerising...
  • Gamal El Sagini Exhibition at Zamalek Art Gallery
    Gamal El Sagini Exhibition at Zamalek Art Gallery
    Jan 11 10:30 am to Feb 02 9:00 pm - Zamalek Art Gallery
    Gamal El Sagini's latest exhibition, showing at Zamalek Art Gallery's Venue I, sees the artist move away from his usual sculptures and...
  • 'Playing with No Toys' Exhibition at Zamalek Art Gallery
    'Playing with No Toys' Exhibition at Zamalek Art Gallery
    Jan 11 10:30 am to Feb 02 9:00 pm - Zamalek Art Gallery
    Showing in Zamalek Art Gallery's Venue II, Souad Mardam Bey's exhibition, 'Playing with No Toys', explores the loss of innocence...
  • 'Dilemma' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art Gallery
    'Dilemma' Exhibition at Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Jan 18 11:00 am to Jan 31 9:00 pm - Al Kahila Art Gallery
    Mohandiseen's Al Kahila Art Gallery hosts 'Dilemma'; a joint exhibition between sculptor, Ammar Sheha, and painter, Tasneem El Meshad....
Fri 30
Sat 31

Highlights

Restaurants

The Backyard: Mean Burgers at Hidden Maadi Hangout

The Backyard: Mean Burgers at Hidden Maadi Hangout

Along the ever-changing Road 9, restaurants and cafes come and go so fast it's difficult to keep up – and it's even harder to predict which will flourish. With a multitude of age ranges coming through, some venues struggle to serve everyone, while others excel at having a single target market. Walking through a small hallway next to Wok and Walk reveals the aptly named Backyard; a Brooklyn-esque open area with graffiti painted walls, artificial grass and a very young crowd. The music is pretty loud and not quite fit for a quiet relaxing meal. We found ourselves seats on the wooden tables and chairs resembling garden furniture and, when a waiter saw us, he proceeded to place menus on our table.  The menu is built on a selection of appetisers, burgers and fries options and we tried the Bacon (51.50LE) and Guacamole (47LE) burgers with Curly Fries (18LE) and Chilli Fries Con Carne (23LE) as well as their signature Backyard Burger (59LE). Additionally, we opted for a Camembert Bites (20LE) appetiser. The Backyard also offers breakfast options and there's a pastries section in a separate building across from the kitchen which has an interesting selection of cakes, macaroons and other sweet delicacies. The Camembert Bites were served first with a perfectly crunchy exterior and a delicious garlic aioli dip. Shortly afterwards came the fries and burgers. Although we weren't asked how we would like the burgers cooked, the Bacon – which features a tasty 160g patty topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and very tasty beef bacon – was served at a very comfortable medium. The Guacamole, on the other hand, was slightly undercooked, leaving the patty slightly more pink than desirable. The tasty guacamole and nacho chip toppings made for interesting textures and the overall taste was definitely pleasant. The Backyard Burger, a monstrosity of beef, bacon, mushrooms on a donut - that's right a donut - was particularly tasty but extremely messy because the donut isn't as big as a bun. The savoury flavors combined with the sweet donut might seem much to some - but the overall result was very filling. The Chili Fries, while not so generous in serving, were topped with a lot of cheese and a tasty, albeit not spicy, chilli, though it certainly beats most of the other chilli fries we've tried around Cairo. The Curly Fries, while a classic, just weren't as interesting after trying the chilli fries. All in all the food is delicious, but the loud music and younger crowd might make it favourable for some, but not for others. Though the Backyard presents little novelty in terms of concept, the overall sum of the parts ensure that, with Maadi's steady stream of youngsters with disposable income, it'll will be around for some time.

Shopping

Kaprun Knits: Inspired Online Hand-Knitted Accessories Brand in Cairo

Kaprun Knits: Inspired Online Hand-Knitted Accessories Brand in Cairo

We all know when the chilly, wintry weather comes creeping in, all we ever want to do is stay wrapped up in a comfortable cocoon of blankets. Said blankets, however, despite being great at shielding our shivering bodies, do not make for fashionable, or at least socially acceptable, attire. So, resorting to other, more suitable winter apparel, we checked out Kaprun Knits. Offering her handmade products on all kinds of online platforms, Cairo-based designer, Victoria Kalinina, displays her crocheted fashion in quite a variety. Numerous types of scarves, from braided scarves (400LE) to laid back infinity snoods (420LE) to fringed scarves (390 LE), alongside cute mug cozies (90LE) and coasters, as well as bow-shaped headbands (180-200LE), can all be found artistically photographed on the brand's Instagram and Facebook accounts. The brand also offers bowties (95LE), as well as kids' headbands (130LE) Yearning for a woollen headband, we contacted Victoria right away and she graciously replied on the spot. After discussing all the possible options with the pleasant designer, we went for a medium-sized Burgundy Headband (180LE). What we truly loved was the flexibility of choosing the colour, as well as the size of the headband.  The colours in which the knitted pieces come in are quite endless; from warm hues of oranges, browns and reds to cooler hues of blues, greys, purples and greens amongst many others. Our order was ready to be picked up right at the time we agreed upon a couple of days later, and we picked it up from the designer's headquarters in Heliopolis. Upon seeing the packaging, we truly knew we had a pleasant surprise waiting for us underneath it; it was adorned with endearing Christmas-themed decorations and heart-warming handwritten notes. The headband itself not only met, but also exceeded, expectations. It was the exact right fit, feeling quite comfortable yet not loose and staying perfectly in place. The colour was also quite the pretty shade we had imagined. Kaprun Knits is a charming online brand with plenty of potential; what you see in all the stunning, well-taken pictures is definitely what you get. We loved the superb punctuality and how everything was well-wrapped in perhaps the most simplistically pleasant packaging we've ever laid our eyes on.  We'll definitely be refreshing their pages, eagerly awaiting the release of any new designs.

Cafés

Rigoletto: Classic Egyptian Ice Cream Chain Opens Shabby New Branch in Maadi

Rigoletto: Classic Egyptian Ice Cream Chain Opens Shabby New Branch in Maadi

When it comes to confectionaries and buying sweets in Egypt, people rarely stray from what they've tried and tested. Every time your parents visit someone and bring konafa, basboosa or gateau, we can guarantee it's always from the same vendor - Egyptians are a habitual people. Egypt's oldest ice cream vendor, Rigoletto, is no different. Having been around since the late 1980s, Rigoletto is known for not just the ice cream, but for cakes and other goodies as well. With a new branch on Road 233 in Maadi, we thought we would go check it out. Now, if you have never tried Rigoletto before, this particular venue will not entice you to. Extremely underwhelming, the venue consists of white walls, a cake fridge and an ice cream fridge. There is no décor and there's no ambiance. Now, most vendors could never pull that off, but when you have an extremely well known brand, nobody really cares about what the store looks like, so long as the sweets are still good. So without further fuss we opted for a slice of Cheesecake (14LE) and two scoops of Vanilla Croquant Ice Cream (16LE). The full size cheesecakes cost either 80LE or 100LE depending on the size, while the ice cream can also come in 150ml boxes (10LE) or 1L boxes (55LE). Our server swiftly prepared our orders offering to top the cheesecake with strawberry syrup for an additional 5LE. We agreed and took our desserts to the car, because there's nowhere to sit. The Cheesecake was very delicious and had an interesting consistency that worked particularly well with the crust. The syrup might be too sweet for some, especially since the taste of cream cheese isn't very striking, so it isn't for the faint hearted. The Vanilla Croquant Ice Cream was a pleasure as well. Topped with caramel and hazelnuts, the blend of flavors and textures gives a new dimension to the creamy ice cream. While the brand name carries a reputation and a loyalty, resting on your laurels is a dangerous game to play; there's so much competition these days that this new branch of Rigoletto may find that, despite, their consistent quality, the trendier brands might trump them in the long run.

Nightlife

The Tap: Refreshingly Unpretentious Maadi Bar

The Tap: Refreshingly Unpretentious Maadi Bar

Residents of Maadi are very proud – and a little protective – of their neighbourhood. Having possibly taken the lead ahead of Zamalek as Cairo's epicentre of cafes and restaurants, there is one field that it has never really excelled at: nightlife. This year alone, two bars – Tipsy Bar & Lounge and Syren Bar – opened in the same spot to much fanfare, only to close with a whimper. Equal, if not more, fanfare accompanied the opening of the Tap, but things seem to be running on a much more even keel thus far. In the run-up to its opening, the unrelenting power of social media sold it as a British-influenced bar – not quite a pub, but certainly borrowing many of its elements. Said elements aren't quite as explicit once you're settled in the venue. Nonetheless, it balances enough visual quirks with a self-assured unfussiness to keep the atmosphere interesting. Red bricking is the most notable decorative feature, but its overall welcoming simplicity doesn't render the distinct decor jarring in anyway. What is slightly jarring, however, is the space's corridor layout which, during busier nights (especially those that attract patrons of the clubbing variety), can be hard to navigate. In addition, the bar-space is rather small and, if you haven't booked a table that affords you table-service, you may find yourself carefully squeezing your arm through a line of seated people to try and catch the staff's attention. In fairness, however, said staff are attentive and pleasantly indiscriminate in service. Drinks (50LE-70LE) are, generally, well made and the staff aren't shy, but in fact rather generous, when it comes to making cocktails, never skimping on the alcohol; try the Banana Daquiri or the Amaretto Sour - you won't be disappointed. The owners of the Tap seemed to have deliberately downplayed the dining aspect, despite offering an eclectic menu of bar-friendly snacks and full-blown mains – and it's a clever move that has saved the Tap from falling into the same pitfalls as other pseudo-gastropubs in Cairo that have wrongly assumed that the city's (overly) discerning nightlife collective can digest the concept. This, however, bares no reflection on the quality of the food itself; buckets of BBQ Buffalo Wings (60LE) are excellently made (and come with customary disposable gloves) and dishes like the BBQ Ribs (110LE) are executed to near perfection. The meat is of noticeably good quality and is cooked to a perfect tenderness and flavour, thanks to an excellent hickory barbeque sauce. Unlike its predecessors, the Tap has laid a foundation that will almost certainly see it be a major player on the nightlife scene for a long time to come – knock on wood – and already has plans to open another branch in the SODIC's West Town Hub, which is still in a very early construction period.  The biggest reason for this is that the owners gave themselves enough time to find their footing, refraining from launching into a stream of needlessly complicated concepts and gimmicks. It's not the F1 simulator, the arcade system or even the three-litre personal beer-tap that makes the Tap stand out - these are all sidenotes; its real quality is in its brave simplicity. Essentially, the Tap speaks for itself – and for bar that that has been birthed from the basics of a British pub, it speaks rather well.

Arts & Culture

Picasso Art Gallery: 'The Interplay of Marble, Stone &  Glass' by Ketty Abdel Malek

Picasso Art Gallery: 'The Interplay of Marble, Stone & Glass' by Ketty Abdel Malek

Art, in the broadest sense of the word, is a tricky thing. The finished product rarely communicates the process that produced it – none more so than with mosaic-work. It's not just a matter of sticking things next to other things; the influence of architecture means that between preliminary sketches and picking colours, to breaking up your medium and finally piecing it backing together, it's an art-form that is every bit as complex as it is fantastical. Despite its intricacy, it remains one of the oldest art forms and one that is still largely popular in art and architecture today. Egyptian artist, Ketty Abdel Malek, is one such practitioner of mosaic-work.  Having French Literature before moving into inking and sculpture, she eventually found her way to world of mosaics, which she studied in Rafina, Greece. She excelled in her pursuit in the art-form by freely using different types and colours of stones on a single canvas, unhindered by traditional schools of thought. Currently a member of the British Association for Modern Mosaic and the International Association for Contemporary Mosaics, she has been featured in numerous international galleries the last of which was the Museum of Contemporary Art in Macedonia. Her current exhibition, The Interplay of Marble, Stone and Glass, at Picasso Art Gallery, is split into two; the first contained a large number of medium-sized mosaics, tied together by a bright and almost cheerful colour palette. The works involve classical themes, but approached in a more contemporary sense. An example of this is a mosaic of the Virgin Mary carrying the baby Jesus, where the artist depicts the characters with Oriental facial features. Another piece that attracted our attention was a 100x70 piece titled Aton. Pharaonic reference aside, the portrait depicts the sun over the river Nile, using a mixture of dark blue tiles mixed with hot coloured tiles to depict the sun and life flowing from it. Abdel Malek hasn't only proved she is one of the big names in contemporary mosaic-work, she also exhibited classical pieces as well, including one very special piece titled Segada; translating to 'carpet' or 'rug', it's traditional in the sense of its motifs and symmetry. Though seemingly much simpler in conception than the other pieces, the intricacy and detail is no less. The second section contains collages made with very different mediums. The portraits are abstract in nature, but one can create harmony between the different shapes made from pieces of the same medium. One in particular stood out, with the use of black ink and splashes of brown paint combined with shreds of paper. This technique is employed several times through the exhibition and, although abstract than the mosaics, it still manages to be simple, lively and visually engaging.

Health & Fitness

Skin Säde: Expert Finnish Skin Clinic in 6th of October City

Skin Säde: Expert Finnish Skin Clinic in 6th of October City

While the pulsing neon lights and energetic pace of the capital provide an atmosphere that cultivates adventure, the arid winds and dense smog easily extinguish the verve of even the most zealous city dweller. The healthy balance of mind, body and spirit is an integral aspect to surviving Cairo and there's no better way than pampering the barrier that protects you from the harsh elements of the city. Skin Säde is a Finnish skin clinic that promotes natural and non-invasive treatments and facials that diagnose and provide skin with exactly what it needs. This attitude is what differentiates Skin Säde from other dermatology centers in the city. Located in the El Motameyaz District of 6th of October City, Skin Säde operates from a large villa shared with a dental clinic. After reserving over the phone, we walked into the beautifully decorated reception area and were immediately greeted by our selected clinician. The clinic has a framed 'menu' with all the provided facials from the Classic Facial Massage (100LE) to the more inclusive Lift BTX Facial (500LE). We were then led inside to the treatment room and given a general medical sheet to fill out and then told to remove any jewelry and loose clothing. We were left for a few minutes to soak up the relaxing atmosphere and soothing music. In addition to the warm environment, the tools and machines were impeccably organised and were either completely sterilised or used disposable parts. After getting comfortable in the plushy chair, our therapist began the Hydrating Facial (450LE) by first cleansing and removing make-up with a cleansing milk, then followed by a toning gel. The products used are all of the same line by renowned brand, Oxynergy Paris. After the cleansing process, our therapist began inspecting our skin under a light to assess the type and the following procedures required. Determining that our skin type was 'oily' and identifying the areas that need extraction, our therapist prepared a chemical peel with the active ingredients of salicylic and glycolic acid. She explained the difference between chemical and enzyme peels and how each is appropriate for a specific skin type. Talking us through each step, she assured us that the peel will cause a slight tingling and heat sensation that is completely normal and is no cause for alarm. After a few minutes, the peel was removed and the steaming process began. Used to open pores to prep the skin for the extraction process, the steam was kept at a comfortable distance and allowed for normal breathing. Including ozone in the steam, we were told that it would disinfect and soothe our skin after the chemical peel. When our pores were sufficiently opened, the extraction process commenced. Gentle and entirely delicate, our therapist expertly tended to our problem areas with extreme tact and dexterity. To close our pores after the extraction, a frequency machine was used. Completely painless and rather relaxing, the nozzle was made of a felt material and was used on the entire face. After the frequency machine, a serum was applied and a galvanic machine was used to aid the skin to completely absorb the serum. The final treatment was a luxurious shoulder massage using essential oils and a face massage using a collagen pack and, as our appointment was in the evening, a night cream. Comprehensive and professional, Skin Säde employs the most experienced skin therapists that we have personally encountered in the skin care industry. With reasonable prices and amazing packages, Skin Säde has a reputation built on honesty and professionalism.

Film

The Woman in Black 2: Cliched & Unnecessary Horror Sequel

The Woman in Black 2: Cliched & Unnecessary Horror Sequel

James Watkins' 2012's The Woman in Black –  led by one Daniel Radcliffe – was named one of the best British horror films of the past twenty years, so it comes as no surprise that a sequel, The Woman in Black 2 – a dreary follow-up which unfortunately fails to re-capture the mood and tone of the original – was quickly set to follow. Directed by Tom Harper, The Woman in Black 2 is set forty-years after the events of its predecessor and plays out against the backdrop of WWII, as a number of orphaned children are evacuated to the countryside for safety. Schoolteachers, Eve Parkins (Fox) and Jean Hogg (McCrory), are put in charge of helping to evacuate eight orphans out of the city and are tasked to take them to the abandoned Eel Marsh House, where they're expected to set up camp until things back in the city settle down. Amongst the group of foundlings, is Edward (Pendergast); a young and a seemingly troubled boy who, after witnessing the death of his parents, has become temporarily mute and only communicates through notes and drawings.  It doesn't take long before Eve – someone who has taken a special liking to Edward – begins noticing that something is off and that the young boy is being troubled by an evil presence (a.k.a The Woman in Black). Like so many horror sequels, The Woman in Black 2 is nothing but a futile and a poorly constructed cash-grab. While the misty aesthetics manage to add a bit of the creepiness to the overall proceedings, the story – which has already been assessed and probed from all angles in the original – doesn't really know where to go, let alone sustain the interest of the audience who will almost certainly see the jump-scares coming from a mile away. Taking every single horror cliché and failing to provide and infuse any real depth or meaning to the character's individual arcs, the performance, as a result, were equally ineffective. The drama is non-existent and the frights are cheap and relatively short-lived, ultimately, branding the film completely redundant.

City Life

Cairo Weekend Guide: Farmers' Market, the Koshary Festival, Lots of Gigs & More!

Cairo Weekend Guide: Farmers' Market, the Koshary Festival, Lots of Gigs & More!

Hello Cairo! After a cold few days, things are starting to look a little brighter weather-wise. Regardless of the temperature, though, it's time to stop complaining, man-up and wear a damn jacket if you're so damn cold. Thursday provides a suitably busy start to the weekend, with plenty of live entertainment across the city, including at the increasingly popular Rooftop Lounge in Garden City where one of the few female Egyptian DJs to break through the glass ceiling, Akladios, plays her deep and tech house sets. Elsewhere, Korba bar, the Garden, welcomes hip-hop specialist, DJ Mobbz, for We Funk on Thursdays, while Cairo Jazz Club starts the weekend with some live music courtesy of Screwdriver. In Zamalek, Riverside hosts rapper and singer HT3 – aka Hossam L Hosainy – on a night that will also see DJs Shady Ezz and AK push some buttons, while the Nasr City branch of Bikya welcomes musicians, Rami Attallah and Ahmed Nazmi, for an evening of jazz. It's a typically busy night at Fairmont Nile City, meanwhile, with Noha Taha leading a laidback night at Saigon Restaurant & Lounge, belly-dancer, Leila, getting things hot and steamy at Bab El Nil and O Bar welcoming DJ Asser Nabil and DJ Irma. Downtown's VENT welcomes back versatile DJ, Minus T, while – on a very different note – the Farmers' Market returns to Katameya Heights Clubhouse. At Cairo Opera House, meanwhile, touring dance group, A Puro Tango, close the Cairo leg of their Life & Feelings tour with their last performance. Friday sees more from Fairmont Nile City, as Lana takes to the stage at Saigon and DJ Irma returns to O Bar, but this time alongside Dr. K. Elsewhere, Cairo Jazz Club welcomes DJ Khaled Hussein, Zamalek's Riverside hosts DJs NTahawy and Shinzo for another edition of increasingly popular event series, Riverdeep, while  VENT welcomes Cairo Shakers – a new concept that comes from the same people behind the From Paris to Kasr El Nil nights. Meanwhile, VENT's neighbouring Downtown bar, After Eight, goes sha3by with the infamous DJ Figo and Sudanese music practitioners, Asyad El Zar, return to El Dammah Theater. There's more live music at Cairo Jazz Club on Saturday as unique, Afro-inspired band, Hadwidro, take to the stage, while Egyptian singer-songwriter, Rasha Magdy, performs at Heliopolis' Balcon Lounge. Back in the centre of town, Four Seasons Nile Plaza's Graffiti takes a trip down memory lane with Hisham Tiba at Retro Lounge, Giza nightclub, Bamboo, channels the Levant with Lebanese Love and DJ Mazen closes the weekend at Downtown's After Eight. One of the most unique events of the weekend, meanwhile, comes at Zamalek's Al Hurriya Park; the Koshary Festival's main attraction is set to be an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest plate of koshary ever made, though there will be other food vendors and even a live performance by bromidic band, Cairokee. It's not the only festival taking place on Saturday, with Old Cairo's Istabl Antar hosting the Gabakhana Festival, which will feature live music, screenings and other activities, all in aid of raising awareness of the area's heritage. There's plenty more parties, gigs and exhibitions across the capital over the next few days – make the most of your weekend and check out the Cairo 360 events calendar.
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Win! Dinner for Two at Kempinski Nile Hotel's Osmanly
Win! Dinner for Two at Kempinski Nile Hotel's Osmanly