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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
South Corner: Pleasant Terrace Lunch in Downtown Cairo
On a clear, sunny day, strolling around Downtown Cairo in the afternoon can be quite entertaining. The only problem with the area is that it is difficult to find a place to have a nice lunch or breakfast at if you’re not familiar with the neighbourhood. South Corner is a café located in the Borsa area of Downtown Cairo and is perfect for lunch or breakfast. It is located across from the stock market in a pedestrian area filled with palm trees.
You’re better off taking a seat outside on the terrace. After all, Downtown is never boring and sitting here watching people is already a form of entertainment on its own. The side terrace is on a little side street and if it’s windy outside it can get quite cold here. However, the front terrace is directly in the sun; so you could get a bit tanned here as well. The menu isn’t that exciting. It carries the standard items found at any other café, including lots of coffee and juice varieties as well as sandwiches and salads. We opted for the Italian hot vanilla (13LE), which was quite good. The hot milk had strong vanilla flavour and the texture was creamy. The strawberry juice (10LE) was obviously made from fresh strawberries and wasn’t sweetened that much.
We also sampled the chicken Caesar salad (20LE) and the smoked turkey with cheese sandwich (13LE). The chicken Caesar salad was very generous with lots of chicken and lettuce, and the chicken was nicely grilled albeit a bit dry. The dressing wasn’t the original Caesar dressing but more of a mix between mayonnaise and oil; we weren’t too crazy about it. Instead of parmesan, the salad was topped with roumi cheese, which is a bit too overpowering for a salad. The sandwich fared better. For only 13LE, it was huge and could fill you up all day. It came in large white bread and was generously filled with Gouda cheese, turkey and lettuce.
The staff is very friendly and service was pretty fast. The toilets are clean, which is pretty much a rarity in the Borsa area. Though the food might not be spectacular, for prices like this it’s hard to complain. For just a cup of coffee and a snack, South Corner is a perfect destination.
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.