There are limited places in Heliopolis where friends can enjoy themselves in the open air with good food, cold drinks and shisha. The Rooftop Garden is a cosy bar and restaurant at the Karvin Hotel that’s a great place to unwind after a long week with some good company. With an impressive drinks menu, many shisha flavours and delicious entrées, the Rooftop Garden is a well-kept Heliopolis nightlife secret.

Drinks come in many varieties. Beer options include Stella (16LE), Meister Max, Sakkara and Heineken. Available wines include red and white wines of the Omar Khayyam, Sheherazad and Cape Bay brands, which can be purchased by the glass (25LE) or by the bottle (100LE). The Rooftop Garden also imports spirits including imported gin, vodka and cognac (70LE). Spirits and beer come with freshly popped popcorn.

The shisha (12LE) at the Rooftop Garden isn’t the best in Heliopolis, but it’s still satisfactory. With no special bells and whistles, the shisha is served in a regular old shisha pipe with a relatively small tobacco head. The coal man is attentive, but that didn’t make the tobacco taste any better. Again, not the most incredible shisha in a neighbourhood of fantastic shishas, but it should satisfy your shisha craving.

The menu mostly consists of sandwiches and main courses. The beef stroganoff (40LE) isn’t traditional stroganoff, but it’s delicious nonetheless. Strips of steak are sautéed with mushrooms and onions in a creamy tomato sauce, with the option of rice or fries on the side. The fries were crunchy and a delicious treat when dipped in the Stroganoff sauce.

The seafood risotto (44LE) consists of spicy calamari, scallops and shrimps on a bed of aromatic red rice. Although it didn’t resemble traditional risotto at all, the seafood was well-cooked and very tasty. It came with raw onions and greens on the side, which added the right amount of freshness to the meal.

All in all, the Rooftop Garden is a great place for Heliopolitans to go as to break out of the routine of the same old bars and shisha places. The atmosphere is cosy and inviting, and the service is great. The only slight put-off is the two large flat-screen TVs that only play Melody Hits; but if you like Arabic and Western pop music, you’ll love it.

There is a 30LE-minimum charge at the Rooftop Garden. A meal for two with a couple of beers, a glass of wine and a shisha can go for 200LE.