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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.
We don’t really understand the correlation between summertime and junk food, but it seems like our cravings for all things sinful are heightened during the hotter months in Cairo. The concept of gourmet burgers continues to be trendy on the fad-loving Cairo dining scene and Butcher’s Burger’s increasing popularity has seen it open another branch in 6th of October City’s Westown Hub.
The medium-sized restaurant offer both indoor and outdoor seating and is hard to miss in the food-court thanks in-part to the yellow mini-bus prop in the outdoor area. Carrying its usual relaxed, kitschy, steakhouse vibe, our waiter dropped by with menus as soon as we were seated.
Offering the usual goldmine of burger variations, the menu stays true to the joint’s signatures. The Milano Burger (54LE), which features mozzarella cheese and pesto sauce as toppings, as well as the Hawaiian Burger (52LE), which features pineapple and Teriyaki sauce, definitely caught our watchful eyes.
Ultimately, though, we decided to go for classics, opting for The Mighty Butcher (77LE) and the Butcher’s Mushroom Burger (54LE). Our order, as promised, arrived within 20 minutes.
Both burgers came with a side of French fries, which were a bit too scarce for our liking, as well as a small serving of Coleslaw. The Mighty Butcher, which consisted of a 300g medium-well grilled beef patty as requested, topped with cheese, jalapenos, lettuce, beef bacon, garlic-mayo and caramelised onions, was everything you need it to be: filling, delicious and oh-so-satisfying. The Butcher’s Mushroom Burger was smaller than the former, yet still filling, with grilled mushrooms topping its well-done beef patty, alongside onion rings, as requested and no Swiss cheese as per our wishes. Both patties tasted fresh and were seasoned well, while the toppings and sauces made for good, trusty combinations.
All in all, from the immaculateness of the place, to the friendliness of the waiters ,to the accuracy when it comes to the orders to the mouth-watering burgers, the Westown Hub branch of Butcher’s Burger was almost faultless. We would have, however, preferred our fries, which were oh-so-crisp, to have been offered in a more generous portion.