Sign in using your account with
Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Trattoir: Another New Glorified Ahwa in Mohandiseen
Among the clutter of Gamaat El Dowal Street in Mohandiseen, Trattoir stands out as a big clean slab of whiteness. The lounge is difficult to miss; the big silver ‘Trattoir’ signage will catch your attention, and the line of fountains across the face of the venue will keep it, if only for a while. All seating is outdoors, and tables can accommodate everything from couples to larger groups. As you step through the entrance, a large projection screen on your right-hand side shows a muted Egyptian music channel.
Where the Trattoir menu hints to impress most is in its drinks. Having studied every milkshake combo, we received the devastating news that all milkshakes and ice cream-based desserts were unavailable. Visibly shaken by this bombshell, we were assured that the juices and mocktails on offer were of the upmost quality. And they weren’t wrong.
The messy sounding mango lassi (22.95LE) – banana, kiwi and mango – was a fresh and thick pleasant surprise, as was the banayna (22.95LE), which was made of banana and apple with cinnamon powder. The banana gave it thickness, the apple gave it taste and the cinnamon gave it a kick. Even the basics were good; we tentatively ordered a pomegranate juice (20.95LE), which turned out to be delicious albeit a little too sweet. You can also mix any two juices for 18.95LE. The strawberry and banana cocktail was chilled, refreshing and, like all the drinks, fresh.Shisha is available in all expected flavours (14.75LE to 21.75LE without lay). An apple shisha was very average and had that generic sweet taste that makes it almost indistinguishable from other flavours.
Food on the menu isn’t as varied as the drinks, but there are still a few interesting options. The Trattoir Continental (33.95LE) is a mixed platter of starters. Large fried chicken strips and meat, cheese and spinach sambousak were served on a bed of plain tortilla chips with a bowl of pink sauce that tasted like something in between seafood sauce and thousand island dressing.
Though the KFC-like chicken strips were large and not in any way greasy as one might have anticipated, they had no seasoning whatsoever. Another small gripe we had was the fact that they served three of these chicken pieces to our dinner party of two. Four would have been more appropriate for two people.
Each type of sambousak was creatively shaped, and provided us with varying contentment. There was no more than a lick of cheese used, the minced meat didn’t taste fresh and the spinach was a little dry. On top of this, they were served a little cold, although the pastry itself was crisp but soft, and hearty in taste.
A quattro fromage pizza cost us 31.95LE, and although it was perfectly edible, nothing about it justified its price. It’s just about big enough to share between two, but the base was heavy and dense, and not as light as a thin-pan pizza should be. In all fairness, though, cheese lovers will enjoy this; the combination of four cheeses was spot on.
Trattoir’s location is both convenient and undermining. The hustle and bustle of Gamaat El Dowal Street and Sphinx Square is far from welcoming or comforting. Even the clumsy looking fountains lined across the front became irritating, as they splashed us while we sat by. We can only imagine that the excessively loud music, more suitable for a club than a lounge, was an attempt to drown out traffic. It just made things worse.
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.