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Cairo Rumours: One of the Only Bars in Mohandiseen
The neighbourhood of Mohandiseen isn’t exactly known for its vivid nightlife. Though a safe bet for shopping, eating or having a cup of coffee, it is not the first place that comes to mind when going for a night out. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any bars in Mohandiseen. Cairo Rumours is located on Syria Street just above Asian restaurant Chopsticks.
After entering, take the stairs up, and you will immediately find yourself on the dance floor of the venue. At the time of our visit, the place was extremely dark and there weren’t many other guests present. There are a lot of high tables and some seats at the bar. A mirrored wall gives the impression is bigger than it actually is. We settled for one of the high tables in a corner. Tables are very close to one another, and so it wasn’t the most comfortable seating arrangement. Despite being one of the few customers, it took the staff a while to finally deliver our menu.
The menu was one big collection of grammar and spelling mistakes such as; ‘coctal’, ‘bloody merry’, ‘Black Russiar’ and ‘Bena Colade’. We opted for a Negroni (50LE), Margarita (50LE) and a Long Island (60LE).
After waiting a good fifteen minutes, our drinks finally arrived and this is where the disappointment began. The Negroni had the cough syrup taste it's supposed to have, but it was a bit overdone, and ironically made us cough and splutter. The Margarita was more of a slush puppy gone wrong, and we struggled to find any alcohol in it. The Long Island however, was high on spirits with an overdose of gin. Although it tasted a bit bitterer than it should, it definitely got our blood running. Throughout the night, we were presented with a complimentary nut mix.
The music at the time of our visit was pretty bland, and actually stopped every once in a while (usually just as we were screaming to each other how disappointing the drinks were and how we didn’t like the place). In the meantime, the resident DJ was getting ready to set up. He plays every Monday and and Friday from 11PM and sticks to r&b and hip-hop. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there is live entertainment. There is also a small food menu with small Asian dishes prepared by downstairs restaurant Chopsticks.
Though this isn’t the worst place we’ve ever been to, we weren’t too impressed. The venue lacked atmosphere and the drinks were concocted very poorly. However, it is the only bar in close proximity to the area, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to knock down a beer here. As long as you stay away from the ‘coctals’, you’ll be fine.
Jewel of the Zamalek crown, the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino never ceases to dazzle, offering rich oriental vibes with a refined twist, especially this year with the hotel’s fancy Ramadan kheima, Som3a Basha.
A play on Khedive Ismail Pasha, who built the castle for a French Empress, the theme of the kheima is that of a castle setting with all its luxury coupled with the authentic feel of Egyptian street food served from carts and vendors.
As we walked past the Marriott Promenade Garden leading to the tent, we were struck by a surprisingly beautiful cool weather in dry July – a promising start to the night.
As we stepped inside, we were immediately taken by the elegant ambiance, stylish lanterns, beautiful castle inspired décor and smiling waiters.
We picked a table with a good view of the stage, and waited patiently for the Sohour buffet to begin (10.30PM). As we waited, we were offered the drinks Karkade (Hibiscus) and Tamr Hindy (Dates). The Karkade was bold in flavour, and tartness, and despite being slightly warm, it was refreshing. The Tamr Hindy was easy on the sugar and had a pleasing hint of bitterness that complimented it.
The live Takht show began soon after and we were transported – there was just something about the atmosphere, the spirit, the music and the night that made us forget how hungry we were.
When we did remember how hungry we were, and the buffet opened, we headed on over to check it out. All the food, except for the salads and desserts, was served in authentic street-carts with a kitschy, yet classic Egyptian feel to them.
We took a stroll down the aisle where the carts were, and had a good look at everything before we decided what to dive into. The buffet ranged from falafel and eggs, to grilled kofta and chicken. The salad selection consisted of assorted vegetables, dressings and yoghurt and though the selection provided no surprises, the food was quite flavoursome and we went back for seconds – of course.
No Ramadan sohour would be complete without shisha and we opted for Grape and Peach (30LE each). In terms of quality, both were bold and distinct, though the grape was a bit too harsh for our taste. In terms of coal maintenance, however, you’ll need to be patient – on the busier nights, the shisha attendants, are somewhat overwhelmed.
Then, as we started to feel a bit peckish, we went back for dessert and were met with a large selection of fruits and sweet Ramadan delights, our favourite of which was the Zalabya cart. You might have to time your dessert excursions, though, with the desserts quickly getting cold in the breezy weather.
Overall, the aura and the entertainment at Som3a Basha were delightful and, although not faultless, the Marriott has made good use of its space.