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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Pottery Café Heliopolis: Outdoor Dining and Shisha Lounge Retreat
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a fresh juice and a great shisha at a comfy outdoor lounge. Unlike its other branches in Downtown and Zamalek, Pottery Café in Heliopolis has a very large outdoor space that is completed shaded. It’s also on a quiet street; providing a peaceful retreat for diners to enjoy all that Pottery Café has to offer.
Pottery Café consistently serves up good food, fresh juice and a great shisha. A Pottery Café favourite is the vegi-beef pizza, which is piled with onions, peppers, tomatoes, olives and minced meat. It is perfectly baked, positively delicious and so filling. It’s great for one starving appetite, or for two people to split as a snack.
Healthier options for dieters and vegetarians are also available. Try the courgettes with coriander entrée: it’s a very generous portion of vegetables with a portion of rice on the side. The coriander soaks perfectly into the courgettes for just the right amount of spice, making it a fresh and feel-good meal.
If you’re in the mood for something savoury and not too filling, try one of the baked potatoes. The cheese and herb baked potato is best; it comes fresh from the oven with melted cheese inside and out, while the parsley keeps the heavy side-dish feeling fresh.
Don’t miss the fresh juices at Pottery Café. The watermelon juice is definitely worth a try: it’s not too sugary and mostly tastes like you’re eating a big chunk of juicy watermelon. It’s very refreshing and perfect for Cairo heat!
And finally, what’s a review on Pottery Café without mentioning their shisha? Pottery Café has a diverse shisha menu with lots of exotic options. Forget the old apple and cantaloupe shishas; try their more exotic flavours like premium grape and coconut.
As for cost, Pottery Café is mid-range. Two entrées, juices and a couple of shishas will cost around 175LE, including service charges. Pastas and pizzas average around 25LE, healthy options and baked potatoes are around 20LE and shishas cost around 15LE, including the cost of the lay.
All in all, Pottery Café in Heliopolis is a great place to spend a quiet afternoon with some friends, enjoy some good food, drinks and fresh air.
Cafés in Cairo are plentiful, and with that comes a plethora of gimmicks. Z9 Café and Lounge in Dokki is so called in honour of Egyptian football player, Mohamed Zidan, whose preferred shirt number – yes, you guessed it – is 9. This is one of two venues that Zidan, currently plying his trade with Emirati club, Baniyas SC, has attached his name to. The first, also located in Dokki, is Z9 Playstation Lounge. Having launched in 2011, both venues have become go-to spots for Cairo's football fans, as Zidan's matches are screened religiously.
However, from the outside, this association is not immediately clear. Signed jerseys from the player are displayed on the walls, but otherwise, Z9 appears to be an old study or stately library; there are comfy sofas, leather armchairs, wood panelling and row upon row of book shelves.
We'd like to say that you can root around and find a treasured novel, but mostly there was just chick-lit holiday fiction and other even less recognisable works. There were plenty of biographies to choose from; if any fans of Pierce Brosnan or English football legend, 'Gazza’, attend. All sorts of other works were also available in German, Japanese and Russian, although not a single Arabic book was in sight.
Putting the books down, we turned to the menu and ordered ourselves nachos (29.99LE) to start. Delicious strips of pastry accompanied the crunchy nachos which were under dollops of spicy salsa, sour cream and lashings of two different types of cheese. The dish was just hot enough and included plenty of each element so everyone could enjoy it to their tastes.
We ordered chicken with spinach sauce for 49.99LE, which came with fries and vegetables. The dish is also available with a multitude of other sauces including garlic, blue cheese and mushroom, but we were well served by the spinach sauce which avoided being bland and instead tasted creamy and buttery complementing the smokey and succulent chicken. The sautéed vegetables had plenty of variety, which blended perfectly without becoming a stodgy mush.
The Crown Burger (24.99LE) was not as regal as its name suggests. Although on the whole it was a tasty dish with a generous portion of fries and garnish, the beef itself wasn't the finest cut, instead tasting sweet and chewy like a McDonald's burger. The bun also seemed as though it had been warmed from frozen and didn't add much to the burger.
Despite the call button on the table, the waiters were inattentive and our shisha coals were long gone before we could get anyone’s attention. Consequently, our drinks arrived late; intrigued by the 'Long Bus' on the menu, we had ordered it along with a Cocktail Z9. Both 23.99LE, they were the best things we tasted all meal. The Long Bus turned out to be a blend of hazelnut and banana, which tasted sweet and refined, while Cocktail Z9 was an incredibly sweet apple juice drink, which was syrupy and frothy. Although we were big fans at first sip we couldn’t finish the whole drink as it became too sickly.
We’d be surprised if Zidan himself ever frequents Z9, but for the rest of us mere mortals this is a café that offers a tasty way to spend an afternoon, where you can enjoy a look of intellectualism, while actually kicking back to watch the match.