The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt


Trattoir: Another New Glorified Ahwa in Mohandiseen

reviewed by
Haisam Awad
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Trattoir: Another New Glorified Ahwa in Mohandiseen

Among the clutter of Gamaat El Dowal Street
in Mohandiseen, Trattoir stands out as a big clean slab of whiteness. The lounge
is difficult to miss; the big silver ‘Trattoir’ signage will catch your
attention, and the line of fountains across the face of the venue will keep it,
if only for a while. All seating is outdoors, and tables can accommodate
everything from couples to larger groups. As you step through the entrance, a
large projection screen on your right-hand side shows a muted Egyptian music

Where the Trattoir menu hints to impress
most is in its drinks. Having studied every milkshake combo, we received the
devastating news that all milkshakes and ice cream-based desserts were
unavailable. Visibly shaken by this bombshell, we were assured that the juices
and mocktails on offer were of the upmost quality. And they weren’t wrong.

The messy sounding mango lassi (22.95LE) –
banana, kiwi and mango – was a fresh and thick pleasant surprise, as was the
banayna (22.95LE), which was made of banana and apple with cinnamon powder. The
banana gave it thickness, the apple gave it taste and the cinnamon gave it a
kick. Even the basics were good; we tentatively ordered a pomegranate juice
(20.95LE), which turned out to be delicious albeit a little too sweet. You can
also mix any two juices for 18.95LE. The strawberry and banana cocktail was
chilled, refreshing and, like all the drinks, fresh.

Shisha is available in all expected flavours (14.75LE to 21.75LE without lay).
An apple shisha was very average and had that generic sweet taste that makes it
almost indistinguishable from other flavours.

Food on the menu isn’t as varied
as the drinks, but there are still a few interesting options. The Trattoir Continental (33.95LE) is a mixed
platter of starters. Large fried chicken strips and meat, cheese and spinach sambousak
were served on a bed of plain tortilla chips with a bowl of pink sauce that tasted like something in between seafood sauce and thousand island dressing.

Though the KFC-like chicken strips were
large and not in any way greasy as one might have anticipated, they had no
seasoning whatsoever. Another small gripe we had was the fact that they served
three of these chicken pieces to our dinner party of two. Four would have been more
appropriate for two people.

Each type of sambousak was creatively
shaped, and provided us with varying contentment. There was no more than a lick
of cheese used, the minced meat didn’t taste fresh and the spinach was a little
dry. On top of this, they were served a little cold, although the pastry itself
was crisp but soft, and hearty in taste.

A quattro fromage pizza cost us 31.95LE,
and although it was perfectly edible, nothing about it justified its price.
It’s just about big enough to share between two, but the base was heavy and
dense, and not as light as a thin-pan pizza should be. In all fairness, though, cheese lovers will enjoy this; the combination of four cheeses was spot

Trattoir’s location is both convenient and
undermining. The hustle and bustle of Gamaat El Dowal Street and Sphinx Square
is far from welcoming or comforting. Even the clumsy looking fountains lined
across the front became irritating, as they splashed us while we sat by. We can
only imagine that the excessively loud music, more suitable for a club than a
lounge, was an attempt to drown out traffic. It just made things worse.

360 Tip

Trattoir welcomes big group reservations, and makes for a decent place to watch football matches.

Best Bit

Cold, fresh drinks.

Worst Bit

The menu is atrocious. There’s the occasional wrong spelling, there are no descriptions of the dishes and the cover looks like it was made on Microsoft Paint.

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