If there’s one thing that Cairo is not short of; it’s cafés. And people of course. The Mohandiseen area is especially packed with cafés, and Tornado is located on Aswan Square, which is easily reachable from Gameat El Dowal Street, The building looks like a an Alpine Red Cross hut and you half expect a Beethoven-style dog to run out of it any second.

The Alpine theme continues inside with big posters showing snowy mountaintops and luscious flower fields. It doesn’t look it from the outside, but the venue is pretty big. The rest of the décor is very sombre, with dark wooden seats and tables, and several televisions are dotted around which were broadcasting Arabic music channels at the time of our visit. The interior is pretty peculiar because one side is a glass window closet filled with fake flowers and one lonely disco ball hangs from the ceiling looking pretty dusty, and not one bit shiny.

The menu is quite extensive but doesn’t differ a lot from most cafés. Notable appetizers include calamari and chicken quesadilla and start from 21LE. There are several salads; starting from 14LE for a Caesar salad, ranging up to 30LE for a salmon salad. There are various pasta dishes on offer starting from 25LE and pizzas from 20LE. Main courses such as grilled chicken will set you back 40LE, whereas the Tornado seafood combo is 80LE.

We visited in the morning, so opted for a cheese omelette (13LE) and a cappuccino (12LE). The omelette was served with pieces of white toast and a cup of olives. On top of the omelette we found grated cheese which we were grateful for because there wasn’t much cheese in the omelette itself. Overall, it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t knock our socks off, and was no better than any amateurish attempts this reviewer had made at home. The cappuccino was surprisingly good; firm foam on top and strong coffee underneath.

The staff stayed pretty much away from us and were friendly when we did speak to them. The toilet was a bit of a miss, though. The person cleaning it obviously works with the motto ‘if it’s wet, then it’s clean’. Not only did the floor resemble an Alpine stream, but the toilet and the sink were also wet which was very uncomfortable to say the least.

Overall Tornado lacks ambience and looks like it was hit with an actual tornado. However, for a cheap breakfast or cup of coffee it’s ok if you happen to live or be passing nearby.