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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
P.S Café: New Restful Café in Zamalek
Everywhere you look in Cairo there is always a new café opening up and it usually happens at the speed of light. Take P.S Café in Zamalek for instance. Located just off of Brazil Street, P.S Café is fairly secluded from the chaotic traffic on 26th of July Street.
The interior décor is quite funky with dark stone walls and fresh orange detailing. We visited on a sunny morning so we decided to enjoy the weather and sit outside. During the daytime, the outdoor area is quite limited and consists of four or five tables at most. In the evening however, when all the other shops close, the area expands and takes up quite a lot of the pavement; adding more tables. Plants fill the surrounding space and because of the location there is not a lot of direct sun light; so it could be a pleasant refuge on a hot summer day.
The menu at P.S Café isn’t particularly surprising or fascinating. Most of its items are what we see in other cafés such as salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and crêpes. The menu had the occasional spelling mistake which was fairly amusing. We opted for a mango smoothie (12LE), rocca salad (13LE) and the chicken quesadillas (20LE), as well as an American coffee (10LE).
The smoothies we get here in Cairo are never very good; tasting like very cold juice as opposed to one mixed with milk or yoghurt. The smoothie at P.S Café was no different. It was tasty but it just wasn’t a smoothie- it was more like iced juice. The American coffee was quite strong and definitely gave us the caffeine boost we needed. The rocca salad was quite modest; unfortunately it was made with canned mushrooms instead of fresh mushrooms and with grated roomy cheese instead of Parmesan. We were really looking forward to our chicken quesadillas; however, we were ultimately disappointed. They had too many peppers in them, killing the flavour of the chicken, and for some reason there was dill all over – which really makes no sense. The sour cream was thin and seemed more like milk and once again, there was a lot of dill added.
Though the food didn’t impress, P.S Café is great for a drink. With soft drinks and tea starting at 4LE and coffee at 8LE, it’s very cheap. The view is nothing to boast about but at least the street is quiet.
Shisha, hookah, water-pipe – whatever you want to call it, it’s every bit as essential to Cairo cafes as chairs and tables are and the majority of places across the city serve it as a key ingredient to the quintessential Egyptian experience.
Located in the bustling Marghany Street, Hookah Lounge stands out with its bright purple sign and white painted walls. We were greeted at the entrance by a waiter, who offered us the choice of either indoor or outdoor seating. Spending any kind of prolonged time outside in Cairo in November is likely to have you shivering to the bone, but Hookah Lounges outdoor area is equipped with surprisingly effective heaters.
We were instantly seated in the mildly crowded lounge without having to wait and had our menus laid out before us in a jiffy.
The design of the place immediately puts you at ease, boasting a laid back white and silver colour scheme. We especially loved the gigantic, colourful shisha design strewn to the side wall and thought it added a rather charming feel to the place.
Going for a rather non-fussy menu, Hookah offers no-fuss mainstream dishes; pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, salads and burgers pretty much dominated the menu. For the shishas, however, they offer a wide range of flavours and mixes.
We placed our order and had our shishas by our sides a few minutes later. The blueberry-vanilla (27LE) was quite heavenly, albeit a bit too strong in flavour. We, nonetheless, loved it. The cherry-vanilla (27LE), which wasn't on the menu, but made as a special request for us, was much lighter than the former and tasted just as delightful. Our coal, however, was not regularly maintained and we had to ask the waiter continuously to change it.
Arriving right after the shishas, our steaming main dishes looked absolutely mouth-watering. The Fried Mozzarella (25 LE) consisted of four large pieces of fried, breaded cheese with a dip and tasted as sinful as deep-fried cheese should taste. Our Chicken Alfredo pasta (49 LE) came in a hefty serving and consisted of penne pasta – as requested – topped with dense white sauce and grilled chicken chunks, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Though nothing stands out as being extraordinary in the food department, everything was cooked well and served in big, filling portions.
But this being a cafe called Hookah Lounge, the focus is very much on shisha and though it wasn’t tended to as regularly as one would like, the quality and variety of the different flavours makes it a haven for shisha fans.