By pure chance or by clever strategic planning, all of the most popular Ramadan tents in Cairo are set up on the Nile with beautiful river views and a fresh breeze. El Shagara Lounge is a clear example. Located on the Nile Corniche on the grounds of the former Sangria, the lounge has been revamped and organised by ByGanz to fulfil the Cairene need for a trendy sohour nightspot.

Predominately decorated in white with a modern take on oriental design, the open-air lounge is flanked by white metal walls in mashrabeya designs and decorated with white teardrop chandeliers emitting a luscious glow. Black wicker chairs carry comfortable cream cushions for low seating, and if you’re really lucky, you might get a low table right on the Nile for an optimum view. A large tree in a corner, obviously the inspiration for the lounge’s name, is adorned in white, cut-out mashrabeya pieces.

LCD screens are dispersed between the tables and play Ramadan TV series on mute, while two large projectors flank opposite corners of the area for prime viewing if there’s an important match on. Despite the refreshing Nile breeze, fans are positioned throughout the space to cool down those extra hot and humid Cairo nights.

Reservations are necessary for El Shagara, even on a weekday, and you have to confirm your reservation a few hours before you arrive. When you do show up, make sure it’s early; as they seem to have a first-come-first-serve basis and all the best seats are snatched up early on. That being said; the front row tables were reserved at the time of our review, and they remained empty well into the night; so perhaps the best tables can be reserved if you're a VIP.

While the cuisine at El Shagara is standard and unimaginative oriental fare, the service is fast and satisfyingly attentive. The shisha waiter will present you with a mother-of-pearl covered wooden box filled with El Shagara’s special shisha flavours, including kiwi, coconut, cappuccino and Red Bull. Within minutes, your shisha will arrive, after which someone will attend to it every ten minutes or so without prompting.

The food arrives equally fast and hot, and ranges from the rather bland foul Alexandrian-style (20LE) to vine leaves (25LE) and a fierce white cheese dip (20LE). The cheese sambousak (25LE) was a huge hit at our table and was constantly re-ordered throughout the night. For dessert, the rice pudding (25LE) is equally awesome. Arriving nicely chilled with the right milk-to-rice consistency, the pudding is a refreshing way to cool down in the heat.

El Shagara imposes a minimum charge of 100LE++ per person, which neither includes shisha nor drinks. It’s a place that you’ll go to more for the chic atmosphere and celebrity sighting than for its food, though we do highly recommend the sambousak and rice pudding.