Na2na2a: Colourful Cairo Café in Korba, Heliopolis
Cafés in Cairo are a dime a dozen, so it takes something special for any new venue to stand out from the crowd. Amongst the various shops and shisha places on El Thawra Street in Korba, the colourful façade of Na2na2a hints at the light-hearted atmosphere within. The fun, multi-coloured theme continues behind the frosted glass entrance; the décor gives off a quirky, relaxed vibe with brightly coloured chairs, contemporary lighting and mismatching tables. However, despite only being open for a short time, Na2na2a already appears slightly shabby with scuff marks on the walls and floors.
The crowd was a laidback mix of families and groups of teens, enjoying both the shisha (20LE) and the board games available. All you can smoke shisha is served from 11AM-6PM everyday for 50LE. Sitting on the shelves in a corner, we spotted games suitable for everyone; backgammon, chess and Connect 4, and group appropriate games such as Scrabble, Monopoly and Cluedo, as well as giant blackboards for Pictionary and a table top football set.
We were presented with round multi-coloured menus which imitated the spinning board from the famous Twister game. As the name of the place suggests, all their dishes are great for nibbling on and are mostly finger foods, perfect for sharing. With snacks such as popcorn, candy selections, cookies and warm milk, Na2Na2a does well to hone in on childhood memories.
Amidst the sambousak (20LE), kobeba (25LE) and hawawshi (25LE), we went for crispy chicken strips (22LE), rolling dogs (22LE), a mug of fries (15LE) and a big dipper for two (17LE) – a selection of cucumbers, carrots and Mexican chips with dips.
From the selection of sodas, hot drinks, smoothies, milkshakes and interesting Red Bull concoctions, we settled on one cherry and soda mix – an ‘Italiano Rosso’ (15LE) – and, upon recommendation from the waiter, a slushy, ‘Fruity Passion’ (25LE). The drinks arrived quickly and although neither were exceptional, they tasted just as they were described on the menu. Our ‘Italiano Rosso’ was served cold, mixed with cherry and had a slight lemon twang whilst the ‘Fruity Passion’ was a passion fruit flavoured slushy with an unidentifiable ‘secret ingredient’. The latter was served in a chilled, terracotta, vase-shaped pot which we thought was rather cute.
Our food arrived soon after, along with several little pots of creamy, fresh, flavourful sauces; yoghurt and dill, Marie Rose, a spicy tomato salsa, ketchup and mayonnaise. The chicken dippers were a tad overdone which resulted in them being slightly chewy whereas the tankard of thin chips were both soft and well cooked. The cucumber and carrots in the big dipper were fresh and were presented nicely in a sundae glass, whilst the Mexican chips were yummy and crisp, whilst the rolling dogs – hot dogs rolled in a thick, crispy pastry – were pretty standard, but tasty nonetheless. Despite not being the most delicious food we’ve tasted, we happily finished all the dishes and swiftly moved on to dessert.
Their puddings titled ‘the Sticks’ (20LE) and ‘Guilty Pleasures’ looked the most appealing to us. ‘The Sticks’ – home-made cheese cake pieces – were delicious; thick and creamy, with sweet toffee and strawberry dips on the side. Although this was the better of the two, we were soon defeated by its size and sickly sweet taste. The ‘Guilty Pleasures’ was a large, vaguely warm, sticky chocolate brownie with ice cream and nutella on the side – it was supposed to come with strawberries but we’re guessing they’re not in season or something.
Although the kitchen at Na2na2a might not show gastronomical genius, the food, drinks, and the atmosphere combined created an enjoyable outing, whilst the idea of board games and finger food allows for maximum merriment and socialising; after all, they say themselves, sharing is caring!