Sign in using your account with
Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Café Riche: Historically Rich, Real Cappuccino
Built in 1908, Café Riche boasts a casual atmosphere laden with nostalgia and deeply entrenched with Egyptian historical significance. Long-time patrons have said that back in its bustling beginning, the café was quite the happening place for intellectuals and artists alike; mulling over endless cups of coffee as they discussed life’s philosophies and politics. Rumour also has it that in 1952, Café Riche was where Abdel Nasser’s regime planned their coup that would soon overthrow King Farouk’s rule.
With history in tow, the café itself is a historical landmark among many in the area, located between Tahrir Square and Talaat Harb Square on Talaat Harb Street. Once you scurry off the busy street and slide through its humble entrance, you’re quickly greeted by friendly staff dressed in traditional garb. Enjoy the café’s eclectic mix of patrons engaging in different activities like reading books, holding meetings, or catching up with friends.
In the narrow main corridor, local artwork lines the walls while the charming table arrangements are composed of the ever-common tiny wooden chairs, checked red and white tablecloths, and as a plus, high quality cloth napkins. Simple, glossy flower vases grace the centre top, complete with one single, fresh flower; tying in a cosy, personal touch. While an adjacent room is just next door, its green fluorescent lighting gives off a strange feel.
They offer a full-scale menu including a variety of espressos, coffees and fresh juices. While the lemon juice (10LE) wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, the cappuccino (12LE) was satisfying with a surprisingly sufficient amount of foam. The mint tea (8LE) came as a sweet arrangement of your own kettle, providing enough water for a few cups. If mint is your thing, you should be pleased; as the mint literally filled the kettle with freshness and a powerful punch of flavour. Beers are also offered, which is rare for a café, with both Stella and Heineken available for 13LE.
Salads, including your traditional Greek, run around 7LE. Chicken platters including shish tawook and similar dishes are offered.
From its historical and convenient location to the tasty, decently priced drinks, Café Riche is definitely the place to go for a relaxing drink or two with friends, or an afternoon spent reading that book you’ve been dying to finish.
You know those days when you just don’t feel like leaving the house? You know, when all you want to do is binge-watch while binge-eating? Well yours truly had one of those days recently, but instead of going for the usual fast-food options, we looked for somewhere with a little something extra – that’s when we decided to revisit Gringo’s Burrito.
Though not a dine-in restaurant, of course, Gringo’s Burrito has two deliver-only branches in Maadi and Mohandiseen, with plenty to choose from— from tacos, chips and dips to quesadillas and burrito bowls. Unfortunately, we received the order 30 minutes after the already indicated 60 minute delivery time –fast food? Not so much.
Nevertheless, we started our meal on a positive note with some Cheese and Black Beans Nacho (24LE); essentially crispy corn chips topped with decent amount of cheese, pico de gallo, and black beans – you have to option flour tortilla chips instead.
Flavour wise, the cheese sauce was delicious and the touch of coriander in the pico de gallo was on-point, but sadly, the crispy corn chips were very soggy due to the packing while the presentation wasn’t appealing at all.
We couldn’t order Gringo’s without trying their main specialty, the burritos, so we picked their Grilled Steak Nacho Burrito (58LE), which brought together pieces of grilled steak, crumbled corn chips, shredded cheese, black beans, cilantro-lime rice, pico de gallo, sour cream and a ‘special sauce’ wrapped in flour tortilla.
The steak itself was perfectly cooked and the rice had a perfect texture, but cilantro-lime flavours were undetectable and the corn chips and cheese were scarce, while the special sauce was lost against the overpowering sour cream. Overall, it was a good burrito, but we expected more from the flavours.
What’s a Mexican fiesta without Chili Con Carne tacos? Three crispy corn tortilla shells filled with chilli con carne, pico de gallo and melted cheese (45LE); the perfectly seasoned chilli con carne was bursting with Mexican spices.
Unfortunately, adding a layer of chilli con carne at the bottom made the taco shells soggy and broke it in no time – adding some melted cheese first or a bed of lettuce would’ve probably saved the day.
The last savoury item we tried was the Tinga Shredded Chicken Enchilada (55LE). Served with fluffy Mexican rice mixed with peas and a bold tomato flavour, the chicken enchilada turned out to be the Machaca Beef enchilada. Yes, we received a wrong order and it was quite dry and not as saucy or cheesy as enchiladas are supposed to be, despite the beef faving great flavours.
Rounding off the rather hit-and-miss experience, the Nutella Empanada (22LE) saved the day. The fried dough with crispy exterior and soft interior was very similar to donuts, was filled with a generous amount of Nutella and was quite delicious and simple.
As a Mexican cuisine specialist Gringo’s has always split opinion since it opened and our experience this time round brought up similar criticisms from previous experiences; the menu promises much in terms of bold flavours, but the packaging and the execution were quite sloppy and didn’t do the dishes justice – especially the tacos and nachos. Plus, nobody likes to receive their food an hour and half late.