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Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
Tea Lounge: Chic Breakfasting at Giza's Four Seasons First Residence
Tired of the usual Cairo cafes, we headed to the Four Seasons First Residence in Giza for a a spot of breakfast at Tea Lounge. Said lounge is located across from the reception on the third floor and oozes calmness and serenity. Drenched in beige tones, the carpeted floor and plush furniture urges patrons to relax as they savour the freshly baked goods and quality drinks.
Taking our seats in the early morning light, we settled on a cappuccino (35LE), café latté (35LE), and a selection of pastries; a cheese croissant, a chocolate croissant and a blueberry Danish pastry.
The coffee arrived on an elegant silver tray, accompanied by two small biscuits and a shot glass of water – obviously meant for sipping. The coffee itself was as impressive as the presentation; both cups were rich in flavour with succulent foam on top. The cups were a generous size, making for an enjoyable start to the day.
Unfortunately, we weren't quite early enough to catch the pastries before they cooled down, but they were pleasing nonetheless. The cheese croissant had a decent amount of salty cheese on the inside and was perfectly flaky, as was the chocolate croissant, with delicious bursts of chocolate appearing from within. The Danish pastry was equally as delectable, with fresh berries, a sticky outer layer and a wonderful buttery flavour.
Tea Lounge also offers afternoon tea starting at 3PM where you can select from a set menu for 135LE; options include smoked salmon tartine, mini egg and bacon sandwiches on English muffins, scones, home-made jam, and of course a large selection of tea.
A cup of tea is 35LE and choices include exotic options such as 'Jade Spring', 'Lapsang Souchong' and 'White Orchard'. They also offer cigars with price tags that go up to 250LE.
There is also a full lunch menu with soups (40LE) and a range of appetisers (65LE-120LE), as well as hearty main course choices such as lamb tagine burger (100LE) and BBQ steak sandwich (115LE).
The staff are professional, to say the least, but we found that our waiter was a little too eager, not giving us the space or the time to ponder what we felt like ordering – he meant well, but his overzealous service did contrast slightly with the energy of the place.
Overall we paid less than 140LE for a breakfast for two; a very reasonable price to to pay for an early morning pick-me-up at one of the top hotels in Cairo.
Coffee, Java, Joe – no matter what you call it, we can all agree that a cup of it can make or break your day. Coffee houses like Starbucks and Costa have been on the top of the coffee game with a branch on almost every corner, and people have been flocking there for their coffee every time; but now there’s a new player in town.
Turkey-based coffee house, Espresso Lab, has arrived to Egypt, at Point 90 Mall New Cairo to be exact, offering you the unique opportunity to play mad scientist in creating the ideal coffee for you.
With a rustic, industrial aesthetic, Espresso Lab offers a relaxing and inviting environment with mostly wooden seats besides giving off a friendly vibe, it’s a great place for studying, working, or just lounging around drinking your cup of Joe.
The venue is of the self-service variety, where there are two bars each with their own set of features; the first has your typical large espresso machine, with an assortment of both savoury and sweet items and some cold drinks, while the other is where the ‘lab’ part comes in.
We picked up one of their signature cold brew coffee (30LE) from the main bar, which came in a small glass bottle reminiscent of a glass whiskey flask; the coffee itself was pure concentrated coffee devoid of any additions which had a strong flavour and a slightly acidic aftertaste.
For something from the other side of the spectrum, we had some hazelnut hot chocolate (32LE), which had a sweet, rich texture with a good amount of foam on top, and hazelnut providing a nutty aftertaste.
Looking into their assortment of sandwiches, we opted for the roast beef (35LE). Heated in a toaster oven, it had warm crunchy bread that contrasted with the melted gooey cheese in the middle perfectly, which in turn complemented the earthy roast beef slices and the addition of the tangy pickles and mayonnaise.
To satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered the chocolate (40LE) and raspberry (40LE) cheesecakes; despite the rather small slices, they both had a rich heavy texture, which made them well worth the price. The chocolate had a creamy, smooth taste, while the raspberry had a slightly tangy aftertaste that complimented the coffee flavoured crust on both of them.
We then moved to the espresso bar, where you can choose one of six different coffee beans – to be made in one of six different ways, including everything from French press and Chemex, to Aeropress and cold brew. The options allow you to adjust everything from the sweetness to the acidity of your coffee and we went for the Syphon (27LE).
With a smooth texture without the strong aftertaste, the coffee had a nice sweetness to it without being too watered down; we opted for some Irish syrup as well as some steamed milk to turn it into a latte which only enhanced the beverage even more.
Espresso Lab provides one of the most unique customisable coffee experiences you can find in the capital; as well as being great place for to grab a quick coffee and bite to eat, it’s also place where coffee snobbery is more than welcome!