There is a top-tier, not-so-secret society in Cairo that loves to insinuate that all the best restaurants and cafés are secluded inside five-star hotels. We don’t agree entirely– the capital is full of oh-so-much-more when it comes to quality dining experiences, but we admit that it can be fun to glam it up once in a while and live the high life. While impeccable service and sleek state-of-the-art décor has its appeal, many of these places are lacking character or ambiance beyond the glitz of the establishment itself. Don’t even get us started on the prices.

Cairo ’s most label-ridden department store Beymen is housed in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza. If you’re tired of ogling racks of Prada, Kate Spade and Versace, you don’t have to venture into the lobby for a coffee or a light snack. Beymen Café lets you sit among the chic clothing, tempting designer eyewear and tantalising perfumes on the mall’s ground floor.

An hour spent sipping a cappuccino at the deco tables feels like sitting in a bakery when you’re on a diet: a feast for the senses without actually indulging in the merchandise. Whether you need a respite from shopping or you simply want to live and breathe couture while nibbling on a delicate sandwich, the café sometimes proves to be more satisfying than the overpriced last-season stock in the display cases.

The coffee (well over 20LE) is excellent, whichever way you take it, and the light savoury fair is a perfect pick-me-up; but the desserts take the cake, so to speak. From a rich but not overpowering chocolate tart with a nutty rich caramelised walnut centre and a dusting of cocoa, to a light pear puff pastry or cheese cakelette; these indulgences are an ideal shopping treat. Desserts average around 40LE and upwards. Even if you don't order dessert, your coffee comes with a fabulous and ornate complimentary chocolate, decked in coloured art. Each has a unique centre and if you like what you taste; you can purchase a box with your favourite ones, be it white chocolate passion fruit or raspberry and bitter sweet chocolate truffle. Be prepared to spend upwards of 75LE on these delights.

Whether you have shopped until you drop into one of the comfy seats or you want a sophisticated gossip session with the girls, Beymen Café’s elegant seating outdoes both the hotel lobby and the subpar department store food court.

We recommend sticking to sandwiches and the menu of caprese salad and toasty baguettes (around 45LE). Dessert and a coffee are really the best way to do Beymen Café. Remember; the prices are as high end as the fashion: a coffee and dessert for two can reach over 200LE; so it’s best not to keep the coffee coming and invest instead in a new scent or pair of shades for the summer.