Cloud 9: Not the Happiest Café in Cairo
59 El Kods El Sharif St.
Not far from Lebanon Square
in Mohandiseen, a quiet café by the name of Cloud 9 implies an idyllic cup of
coffee. However, this grey cloud of a café rained hard on our parade.
From first glance at the menu, suspicions are raised about Cloud 9. A
brief passage about the owner’s interpretations of the café’s name discusses
extremes, unexpected twists and reaching new levels of the imagination. This
clear misunderstanding of a common phrase for supreme happiness should be taken
as an early sign of this café’s confusion.
Cloud 9 has a cool and eclectic atmosphere with armchairs, couches and
booths covered in mismatched upholstery. A number of flat-screen televisions
detracted not only from the café’s charm, but from the service. We spent a good
deal of our visit trying to get the attention of the wait staff, who seemed to
split their time between eyes glued to the TV and glumly ambling around the
After being informed that all but three of the tables in the entirely
empty café were off limits, we were shown to a booth between the kitchen and
neighbouring bathroom. We were told that a minimum charge of 75LE would be imposed
after 7PM, but as we’d arrived with an hour to spare; we were sure we’d be
Cloud 9’s menu is quite vast and includes mezzas, soups, salads, pizzas,
pastas and chicken and meat entrées along with a lengthy drinks list. We settled on a Turkish coffee, lemon juice
with mint, a chicken Caesar salad (23.95LE) and chicken liver (22.95LE).
Shisha (8.95LE plus 4.95LE for the lay) came quickly enough but needed
frequent relighting; as over-smashed coals tend to extinguish quickly. This
empty café proved satisfactory in terms of its drinks. The Turkish coffee (8.95LE) was strong,
though the ring at the top of the cup isn’t as thick as we’d like it to be. The lemon and mint juice (9.95LE) was frothy,
refreshing and thankfully tangy without too much sugar added.
After more than half an hour, food arrived at the table with the
waiter’s fingertips dipped generously into the gravy of the liver– certainly
not the type of service that we would hope from a café with a minimum charge.
However, the second plate of liver was quite tasty. It was soft and
served with large chunks of red and yellow bell peppers. The gravy was thin but
heavy in garlic and black pepper. The Caesar salad turned out to be a poor
choice: plenty of shredded Parmesan and strips of dry chicken sat atop an
underwhelming portion of shredded iceberg in a sea of ranch dressing.
Check out Cloud 9 for a quick coffee or juice and a shisha in a cute
setting; but make sure to arrive well before 7PM to avoid having to order their
disappointing food or rely on their equally disappointing service.