On the roof of the Nile Zamalek Hotel on El Maahad El Swissri Street (just off Mohamed Mazhar Street), Pour Vous – or as most people refer to it, ‘Roof Top’ – is a well hidden chill out spot with one of the best views in Zamalek.
The hotel itself is run down, dingy and dirty; the bar isn’t much better. Feeling unimpressed with the dishevelled, Stella-themed venue, we positioned ourselves on one of the dust coated tables and took a minute to take in the breath-taking view.
Along with the incredible views over Cairo and the Corniche, we were immersed by the soothing quiet which is quite a novelty amongst the chaos of the city. The dim, slightly green lighting from chandeliers made of Stella beer bottles was soothing and with just a radio show humming away in the background we were able to hold a conversation without having to shout. Even in the colder months, Roof Top is popular amongst both foreigners and Egyptians alike.
After scouring the laminated menu we were shadowed with disappointment – no tropical, or adventurous drinks are available – just tea, coffee, fresh juices (10LE), sodas, beers and wines. A glass of Omar Khayyam wine is just 25LE and a bottle is 105LE, whereas the most expensive, a Chateau des Rêves, is priced at 44LE per glass and 165LE for a bottle. A beer will cost around 20LE, but, there’s a 50LE minimum charge, so stopping by for just one drink isn’t exactly cost effective. Shisha is also readily available at 15LE, although flagging down any sort of service proved to be a fairly mammoth task.
Due to the fresh winter breeze, we felt a little chilly so decided to warm up with some hot drinks; one hot chocolate (12LE) and a Tisane (8LE) which arrived within minutes. The Tisane came with two teabags to give a stronger taste whilst the hot chocolate was made with water – as opposed to milk – but it still did the trick.
The food menu is a standard mix of pasta dishes, salads and a couple of meat dishes. We ordered a French onion soup (21LE) and a cheese and tomato salad (16LE). The watery, salty soup tasted suspiciously like a packet mix and the cheese and tomato, which could have done with more tomatoes, was served with some disappointingly stale baladi bread.
Albeit cheap, we wouldn’t recommend the food, but, if you look past the scruffiness of the place, the stunning views detract attention from its many faults. The atmosphere and crowd also helps make the Roof Top a nice place to spend a casual evening.