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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Maze Café: Sleek Playstation Café in Nasr City
While most gaming lounges will bring you a coke or water, and a few cafés in Cairo offer a console or two, Maze Café successfully straddles both worlds with its fully decked out private gaming rooms, all equipped with sleek black couches and PS3s, and its extensive café menu that offers not just a few standard soft drinks; but cocktails, shakes and a number of desserts as well.
You’re welcome to linger in Maze’s open café where you’ll have a number of comfortable seating options, a TV and free internet. If you’ve come to play, though; there are five private rooms available, the largest of which can accommodate up to eight people. Every room is decked out with a 50-inch plasma HDTV and the original PS3. You have the option of playing with regular controls (25LE per hour) or the new Playstation Move (30LE per hour) – charges are 10LE more for a multiplayer.
The game selection at Maze isn’t earth-shattering and neither PES nor the latest FIFA instalment were offered to us though we’re sure they’re stocked. Instead, some of the games available included Smackdown vs. Raw, WTA Tour Tennis, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Street Fighter.
The rooms here are also available to rent for screening films or football matches, both of which run at 25LE per hour. In situations like these, the café might be a little more useful, but it also becomes more apparent how limited the café’s menu is. You won’t find any pizzas or what some might consider traditional gamers fare here; so eat beforehand or bring your own if you plan on making a party out of the next football match.
If you’re already full, the drinks are quite tasty and we recommend the Oreo vanilla shake (22LE). However, if you plan on having anything with fresh fruit, we should warn you that the smoothies (19LE) are a bit watery and you’re probably better off just having some fresh juice or the electro, a juice and sprite combo (22LE).
The desserts are also hit-and-miss, and as with many cafés, not everything on the menu is actually available. Given only three choices out of the twelve or so listed, we were not disappointed by the cheesecake, but despite our hopes that the chocolate cake would taste as good as it looked, the relatively tasteless chunk just wasn’t very chocolaty.
Maze offers a classy gaming experience and, save for the lack of actual food; we can see ourselves lounging around there all day enjoying the plush couches and the 50-inch screen.
A perfect hangout spot can be hard to find in Cairo. Though there’s certainly no lack of cafes, restaurants and bars, it’s simply difficult to find a place that balances entertainment, food and a sense of comfort all at the same time with venues often sacrificing one aspect to keep the rest as high as possible.
Hidden away in the Walk at Beverly Hills,6th of October City, lies Bricks; a simple venue with an emphasis on being a hangout spot with good food. The outdoor area is filled with modernised version of Ahwa chairs painted in white along with wooden top tables with metal centres offering cosy setting.
Bricks also boasts a relatively small indoor area with the same previously mentioned chairs and a ‘PlayStation Corner’ for anyone who’s into gaming – for free – alongside a huge black graffiti-decorated wall quoting famous Beatles song, Come together.
With a relaxed atmosphere, Bricks offer a chilled out mood their seating arrangements, while the availability of playing cards and backgammon, as well as a screen to show matches, it certainly checks two of the boxes for an all-inclusive hangout spot.
After taking a seat outside and looking through the menus we opted for the Mozzarella sticks (35LE) as an appetiser, as well as the Classic Burger (45LE), the Mushroom Burger (55 LE) and a Chilly Hotdog (40LE) with extra cheese (5LE) for our main dishes.
Arriving only a few minutes later, the appetiser came as four mozzarella sticks with a mayo and sweet chilli sauce; the sticks had a satisfyingly crunchy outer shell with a tender gooey cheese centre that was enhanced even further after dipping it into the sweet chilli sauce for an extra spicy sweet aftertaste.
Our main dishes arrived moments later in wooden framed plates accompanied with a small bowl of pickles, alongside some fries. The Mushroom burger had a large burger patty on top of some lettuce and mayo, topped by Swiss cheese and large mushroom pieces and had some curly fries on the side (4LE).
The curly fries were well seasoned and would rival that of Hardee’s, with a crispy exterior and tender hot interior making us uncontrollably eat one after the other. As for the burger, it had a high quality, pure beef flavour with a barbequed aftertaste, working well with the slightly tangy cheese and the saltiness of the mushroom, making it a well-rounded sandwich.
The classic burger followed the same pattern as the mushroom burger in quality, and had lettuce and tomatoes, but was a bit dry. However, that was quickly solved by adding the mayo and sweet chilli sauce.
Moving on to the Chilli Hotdog, it came in a large hotdog bun, topped with some mustard and smothered with chilli, extra cheese and slices of onion alongside some French fries.
Although the fries lacked a bit of seasoning, it was easily fixed with a bit of salt, and were great, similar to ones from other fast food restaurants like Burger king or McDonald’s; crunchy on the outside, soft and hot on the inside.
As for the hotdog itself, it had the traditional familiar hotdog taste with an extra kick from the mustard, while the onions made the flavour of the chilli pop, making the sandwich one of the highlights of the evening.
We also tried the Peanut Butter Milkshake (30LE), which arrived in a tall glass with a straw. Though rich with peanut butter flavour, it was a bit light texture-wise, and could have been all round better if was a bit thicker.
Overall, our visit to Bricks was a pleasant one. With great food and excellent, attentive staff, it makes for a good hang-out spot for both groups and individuals by keeping things relatively simple and letting the atmosphere and food talk for themselves.