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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.
The lengths that one is prepared to go to for good burgers in Cairo are pretty much infinite. Despite a whole host of gourmet burger restaurants opening around Cairo in recent times, there’s one place that has been around well before them: Fuddruckers.
Located near the small fountain in the outdoor restaurant area, the Mall of Arabia branch of Fuddruckers offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The waiter by the entrance welcomed us and led us to our requested outdoor table, which was notably immaculate. The venue itself was rather crowded during the time of our visit.
Menus were laid before us in no time and we began to scan them with rumbling stomachs. Fuddruckers offers perhaps some of the most appetising starters around; from Mozzarella Sticks (42LE) to Buffalo Chicken Wings (39LE) – some of the items can make for a full meal themselves. For main courses, Fuddruckers offers its infamous burgers, alongside steaks, chicken sandwiches, wraps, protein-topped salads and chicken and seafood platters.
Looking for something a little more exotic, we went for Caribbean Chicken Salad (44LE), alongside the sinful-sounding The Works Burger (47LE/ 1/3 lb.). Fuddruckers offers burger patties in 3 sizes; 1/3 lb, ½ lb and 2/3 lb; knowing, however, how generous their servings usually are, we decided to go with the smallest patty to save us the trouble of eating long after we were full.
One of the many available waiters came by and swiftly took our order and within twenty minutes, our glorious dishes were garnishing our table. The Caribbean Chicken Salad, which consisted of chopped lettuce, pineapple pieces and tomatoes topped with grilled chicken chunks and tortilla crisps, all drenched in honey mustard dressing was quite the tangy surprise; it tasted distinctly fresh with the sweetness of the dressing and pineapple pieces balanced by the savoury grilled chicken.
The Works burger, which comes with a side of French Fries, and consisted of a beef patty topped with sautéed mushrooms, cheese, lettuce, tomato slices, beef bacon and mayonnaise, was quite the hefty delight. Needless to say, we contemplated unbuttoning our jeans to leave some breathing room for our newly stretched stomachs. We would’ve, however, preferred a little extra mayo on the burger.
All in all, Fuddruckers, as usual, did not disappoint, with its efficient service and scrumptious dishes. Our food tasted fresh and was presented quite well, while the waiters were always around in case we needed something.