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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Bar D'O: A Little Taste of New York in Zamalek
Newly opened Bar D’O is located inside the President Hotel, underneath the cocktail haven that is Amici. The name has already become the butt of many a joke. For instance, run the name through Google and you’ll end up with a video of a New York drag queen show. Plus, some Cairene’s have event taken to pronouncing it like the word ‘bardo’ – meaning ‘also’. However, step inside and you’ll find pictures of Brigitte Bardot on a chalkboard-menu and everything begins to make sense.
The bar is inspired by the Meatpacking District in New York and is designed using a distinct warehouse style. Red brick walls, exposed piping and minimal decoration are the main aesthetic features. The menu at Bar D’O is still under development so for the time being the chalkboard is where you can browse your options.
Bar D’O offers a variety of cocktails such as sangrias, mojitos and bellinis which are all served in jugs and jars; adding a twist to their presentation. Although all cocktails are 90LE, the jars are almost 700ml. The mojito served at Bar D’O might be one of the best we’ve had in Cairo. It had the perfect combination of sweetness and mint. However, the drink could have used another shot of rum.
In keeping to the theme, they also offer the New Yorker cocktail which is a mix of whiskey, Red Bull, orange and cranberry juices. Even non-whiskey fans would devour this drink within five minutes. The New Yorker tastes sweet with a hint of sourness coming through every now and then. However, once again the alcohol was a bit lost.
The Long Tail cocktail is a concoction of tequila, cranberry juice and orange zest. Where the other cocktails lacked in alcohol this one had it in abundance. In fact, it was too strong to drink and it was only after the ice melted that we were able to work it down.
Bar D’O also has a food menu with lots of options. The shrimps with olive and lemon (70LE) make for a perfect little snack. Beware of the shrimp though as they are drenched in oil will drip everywhere if you’re not careful- especially when you’re tipsy.
We found the staff to be very pleasant and attentive; our drinks and food were served fast and the staff had sufficient knowledge of their menu – which is a rarity in Cairo. We definitely see ourselves returning to Bar D’O for afternoon drinks and snacks.
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.