Sign in using your account with
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Lilly's: Quaint & Charming Café in Zamalek
As one of the capital's most cosmopolitan districts, Zamalek is constantly sprouting the most modish restaurants and cafés in Cairo. On the popular Abul Feda Street, Lilly's sits with an air of suburbia; white picket fences and quaint lampposts line the outdoor seating area. With white wooden chairs and solid timbre tables, the newly opened eatery appears to attract a laidback, fashionable crowd with its rustic, almost countryside feel.
The indoor area is equally as charming, complete with pastel-coloured cushions and homely seating arrangements. We were immediately seated by staff in the patio area, while menus are already conveniently placed on the tables. A pretty array of hanging flowerpots detracted attention from the attractive but already scratched, decorative floor tiles and our very precarious, wobbly table.
The menus are simple and straightforward, offering up a range of salads (18LE-39LE), appetisers (12LE-29LE), sandwiches (25LE-38LE), pasta (25LE-45LE), main dishes (48LE-70LE) and desserts (22LE-32LE). Hot drinks (8LE-23LE), fresh juices (17LE-19LE), smoothies (20LE-26LE), frappes (28LE-35LE), cocktails (23LE-25LE) and sodas (8LE-12LE) are aplenty, which makes the café a tempting place to chill out with a drink and a shisha (17LE-35LE). We'd highly recommend the full-bodied and slushy, peach smoothie (22LE), which fared much better than the slightly sickly and artificial-tasting and Blue Rays soda cocktail (23LE).
Unfortunately, the delivery of our food was staggered and uncoordinated. First, our starter of bruschetta (19LE) was beautifully presented and tasted even better than it looked. The finely chopped tomato was rolled in a generous amount of pesto, whilst the white baguette slices were crispy around the edge but fresh and fluffy in the middle. Next, our Greek salad (25LE) arrived and was a crisp and crunchy creation drizzled with a subtle touch of olive oil, and included flavourful additions of onions, olives and sweet peppers amongst the usual greens. Despite there being a generous amount of it, the feta cheese was slightly rubbery, but pungent nonetheless. Our main meal of escalope panne (65LE) arrived afterwards, along with our side choices of golden fries and fluffy white rice. The four, large escalope fillets were fried to a deep golden brown, whilst the meat itself proved delicious and maintained its moisture.
Out of a long list of desserts, only a few were available. We opted for cheesecake with caramel sauce (27LE), as opposed to chocolate sauce; a choice we were wholly satisfied with. The sauce was incredibly sweet, while the slice itself was large, velvety and truly scrumptious, with a tasty, crunchy biscuit base.
Joining the ranks as an inviting, fashionable hangout spot in Zamalek, Lilly's offers customers a relaxed atmosphere complete with rural charm, café-style food and background jazz classics to boot.
A decent meal in a good location with good weather is an unbeatable, if often unattainable, combination. Ramadan, however, moves the goalposts; the food of a traditional sohour is neither complicated nor difficult, making the whole experience dependant on many other factors.
At Kahwet Leila in Maadi’s the Platform, you get just that. The Lebanese restaurant serves a set sohour menu at 100LE per person; that package includes Ramadan drinks, manakeesh, eggs, foul and falafel, plus a selection of desserts.
The great thing about the Platform is its breezy Nile-side location, paired with its chic aesthetics. Kahwet Leila also serve very decent shisha.
Shami flat bread is served with thyme and olive oil for you to snack on until the food arrives. From the sohour menu selection we opted for a Mouajanat Cocktail, Eggs Mfarakeh, Foul with Homos, Foul with Vegetables, Labneh, Falafel and Osmanliyet Leila from the desserts.
Frustrations flared almost immediately; the flat bread was cold. Seriously, small things like make a world of a difference.
The Foul with Homos didn’t particularly stand out –neither did the Foul with Vegetables – and after a few bites we realised why; they both had the artificial taste of a canned product.
The Labneh, an excellent dish to cool your stomach after heavy and oily foods like foul, had more salty cheese than labneh, which unfortunately took away from the cooling effect.
The Eggs Mfarakeh – scrambled eggs with cut up potato cubes – was equally as lacklustre ,but the Mouajanat Cocktail was the saving grace; around a dozen pieces of different dough and pastries, filled with either cheese, spinach or meat, all fresh, warm and delicious.
The Falafel was also much better than the other dishes, made the Levantine way with homos instead of foul, and served hot and crispy.
After a brief coffee break we proceeded to the dessert, which we believe may be the best thing on their menu. The Osmanliya – konafa topped with pistachio ice cream and syrup – was the definite hit of the night, and a definite must try for any sweett0othed Cairene.
Despite the inconsistency of the quality of the food itself, Kahwet Leila’s strengths in sohour lays primarily in its location – perfect for sohour with family or friends.