Al Khaima: Embrace Ramadan in Giza
Tanya El Kashef
Every year we see Ramadan tents sprouting across the city in
hopes of satisfying the never-ending yearning for Cairenes’ latenight socialising. Overnight,
it’s exciting shisha flavours, relaxing oriental music and authentic oriental
cuisine that’s being boasted; the idea of the ‘place to be’ quickly transforms
into something entirely different from what we’re otherwise used to. Keeping
with the times, events organiser byGanz has taken over Y Lounge in Giza, offering its version of
the Ramadan tent – Al Khaima.
Maybe it’s the location (what we usually recognise as a club
atop the Trianon boat), maybe it’s the air that byGanz exudes, but we could
easily say that Al Khaima is closest thing to a club you’ll find in Ramadan; at
least the guest list at the door gave us that same impression.
Al Khaima has both outdoor and indoor seating. While the
outdoor has a perfect view of the Nile, it was a tad too hot to be seated
there. Preferring to settle inside, the interior is spacious and well lit, with high ceilings. The décor is simple with mostly white seating and round oriental
ceiling lights; sheer curtains drape the windows while Arabesque accents are
matched with deep turquoise and purple detailing.
The menu is Lebanese and we started with
white cheese and tomato, hummus, halloumi cheese and taameya. All the cold
appetisers are priced at 18LE, while the hot ones range between 30LE and 40LE and
include maqaniq and arayes. The ‘Ramadaneyat’ section with foul, taameya and
eggs ranges at 10LE to 30LE. We also ordered a lemon and mint juice as well as a kiwi
one; drinks are in the range of 15LE to 30LE.
The white cheese and tomato was not the best we’ve had; the
cheese didn’t have the right consistency which affected the flavour. The hummus
was flavourful with a firm texture, however we would have liked just a bit more
of a lemon punch. The halloumi cheese was good but the taameya had a few too
many spices for our liking.
On the other hand, the maqaniq were downright delicious.
Arriving in a small pot, the mini sausages were excellent with a full burst of flavours.
The meat arayes were also very good with a crunchy exterior and tender filling.
Another highlight of the meal was the kiwi juice which was
fresh, thirst quenching and perfectly sweet. The lemon with mint was also
enjoyable, though a little less sugar would have given it that needed kick.
There was a choice of Ramadan drinks (18LE) but when we asked to try the
sahlab, we were disappointed that they had none available.
Al Khaima offers a lot of other choices on their menu such
as fatta tawagen (30LE-40LE) and a bunch of main courses (50LE-120LE) which
include mixed grills and seafood platters. Their desserts include the usual om ali
and rice pudding, which range between 20LE and 40LE. The menu also has lighter, healthier choices
for your midnight snack such as yoghurt with honey and a fruit platter.
The service at Al Khaima is efficient and attentive; friendly and professional. Overall, the
experience was an enjoyable one, so the next time you’re looking for somewhere
to puff on shisha (20LE-25LE), play backgammon, and enjoy a pleasant atmosphere
overlooking the Nile, then make your way over to Al Khaima.