Whatever the occasion, typical outings tend to revolve around the multitude of restaurants and cafés in Cairo, with well-known chains being particularly favourable. One such café, L'Aroma, located on Al-Maza Street, has long been a staple among Heliopolis locals. Well known for fresh pastries and decadent desserts, L'Aroma's menu has expanded to serve not only basic hot and cold beverages, but wraps, Paninis, sandwiches, pasta, soups and salads.

The interior is spacious and the tables are arranged in a way to maintain a level of privacy for each group of diners. Warm lighting and a climate controlling humidifier greatly contribute to the intimate, cosy vibe. A tiled walkway between rich wooden flooring allows direct access to both the barista counter and display case at the beginning. We noticed that many of L'Aroma's patrons were study groups.

From the vast selection of drinks, we decided on an Italian cappuccino (12.50LE), original freddoccino (22LE), Irish cream latte (18LE) and a caffe Americano (10LE). For food, we opted for one turkey and basil Panini (28LE), a brownie (10LE) and a sugar and jam doughnut (6.75LE). Unfortunately, the hot drinks were nothing out of the ordinary and the freddoccino was not only flavourless, but diluted due to the melting ice which was not crushed finely enough to drink through the straw. The turkey and basil Panini was carelessly put together, with stale, artificial-tasting ingredients. After hearing many good things about the brownie, we were sorely disappointed at its dry consistency. Sadly, the sugar and jam doughnut did nothing to curb our sugar cravings either, and was saturated with the taste of sweeteners.

Dissatisfied with our selections, we asked the waiter what he would recommend in the future and it appeared we would have been better off ordering either the club sandwich or pasta.

After a far from extraordinary experience, we left L'Aroma somewhat heavyhearted; only the attentive staff and the relaxing ambience would give us reason to revisit.