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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Avatar Café: Quiet Getaway in Dokki
For a café that shares its name with a blockbuster high-tech special effects film and a term that Hindus use for the material manifestation of a deity, Avatar Café in Dokki is decidedly low-key. Pleasantly lit and filled with modest beige furniture, this quiet local café is a good place to escape the bustle of Tahrir Street and El Mesaha Square.
Avatar is a small café, with at best a dozen tables surrounded by comfortable lounge chairs and couches. The place is generally clean and tidy and has a very relaxed atmosphere, with the air-conditioning set to an agreeable temperature. The waiters aren't very attentive, you have to wave or yell at them to get their attention. But once you have made them aware of your existence, service is friendly and pretty quick.
The café has two big wide-screen TVs, which make it a good spot for watching football matches and other sports. Unlike most Cairo cafés, the sound of the TVs is usually off or on low volume when there is nothing special on, but if there is something specific you would like to watch, one of the waiters will gladly switch channels and adjust the volume for you. Another good feature Avatar Café offers is a speedy and reliable Wi-Fi internet connection.
The menu at Avatar Café unfortunately offers nothing out of the ordinary. The banana juice (11LE) we had was a bit on the sweet side, even for Egyptian standards. The orange juice (11LE) was surprisingly unsweetened, a rare find in Cairo, and tasted exactly like freshly squeezed oranges should. The cappuccino (10LE) and the latte (10LE) were both weak on coffee flavour. Avatar Café has a wide range off sheesha flavours, from apple to mint to some kind of honey special. We opted for grape (7LE), but were unimpressed by the weak taste.
Aside from hot beverages, juices and sheesha, Avatar Café offers a selection of fruit cocktails and desserts, ranging from 15 to 22 LE. A regular soft drink will set you back 8LE. Apart from ice cream and brownies, there is no food on the menu, but you can bring your own, or have some delivered at the cafe. Avatar Café is unlikely to become your new favourite café based on its menu, but it is an excellent spot to kick back and cool down from the summer heat, and enjoy their speedy Wi-Fi.
After a hard day's work, there’s often nothing better than putting your feet up and relaxing with a hot drink and a slice of cake. Of course, Cairo’ cafés are second to none, but finding a sophisticated spot, not filled with shisha smoke, can often be somewhat of a challenge. The Coffee Club is amongst an abundance of dining options in newest Tivoli Dome in Sheikh Zayed.
As soon as we entered the dome, we spotted the tranquil fountains and greenery bordering the Coffee Club’s comfortable outdoor seating. The entire front of the café opens up to allow a breeze in, whilst the interior is simple, painted in a timeless deep red and cream. The waiter promptly delivered a couple of menus and much to our surprise, the Coffee Club is not just limited to coffee as its name suggests.
Of course, the coffee and frappe sections are the most diverse; with the options of adding syrups, extra shots, marshmallows, ice-cream and swapping caffeinated to decaffeinated. Flavoured tea, fruit juices, mocktails and all the usual sodas are also available. We settled on one flat white coffee (18LE) and an orange juice (20LE). Both were delivered swiftly, with the flat white sporting an artistic illustration on top of its thin layer of froth. The coffee beans were rich and slightly bitter, made with a good amount of milk. The orange juice was fresh, tangy and bitty, making for a rather sharp thirst quencher.
The food menu was unexpectedly large offering breakfasts of pancakes (25LE), breakfast wraps (32LE), cooked breakfasts (46LE) and fruit salads (20LE) whereas the all day dining menu boasts salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, fish and chips (55LE) surf and turf (99LE), fish and meat dishes including steak (99LE). Also on the menu – and a little out of place – is a selection of Thai dishes, namely curries. We chose to sample cheesy garlic bread (19LE), followed by sweet and sour chicken (75LE).
Both portions were substantial; the garlic bread was made from two slices of thick, soft bread, cut into four large triangles and appeared slightly golden on top. The four-cheese topping added a delicious richness, despite being slightly greasy. Our sweet and sour fried chicken pieces were swimming in a flavourful sauce, which although was not overly wonderful, was neither too sweet nor too sour. The generous mound of white rice in the middle was fluffy and well-cooked.
Their desserts don’t feature on the menu; they must be handpicked from the large glass counter inside the café. From the tempting looking cheesecakes and chocolate mousses, we ended our meal with a big slice of carrot cake (23LE). Unfortunately, the sponge was dry, with a disappointingly thin layer of butter icing on top, and in the middle. The large helping of chantilly cream on the side almost helped curb our disappointment.
Our overall experience was one of relaxation, nice food and friendly service; however, the Coffee Club does over-complicate the notion of coffee and dessert and although we're glad it does, we feel like they would benefit from concentrating more on their 'signature' desserts.
A nice and quiet place to escape the busier streets of Dokki.
The menu offers nothing special.
Bring your own
food, or get it delivered to you at the café - they don't mind!