Rouge: Wine and Sushi Bar Opens in Egypt
For all that Cairo’s nightlife has to offer
in terms of swanky clubs, jazz bars, pubs and baladi bars as well as cabarets,
Egypt’s wines have long been unappreciated. Sure, you can order a glass of wine at many of the city’s night spots,
but the selection is usually small, the bottles are often not stored properly
and wine feels like little more than an afterthought. However, all this has changed with the opening
of Rouge, Egypt’s first wine and sushi bar.
Having only recently opening in Mohandiseen’s
Swiss Hotel, Rouge caters exclusively to Cairo’s wine-loving crowd, serving the
entire collection of Gianaclis Wines as well as international labels (upon
request) and sparkling wine cocktails. The list of wines is accompanied by a menu
of sushi, mezzas and cold plates.
Rouge’s atmosphere is appropriate for a wine
bar, even if it feels a bit stuffy. Dark
wooden shelves showcase a variety of wines on offer, such as Omar Khayyam and
Cape Bay. Rich red carpet and upholstery, soft jazz music and dim candlelight
give Rouge a distinctly refined tone, but a few touches prevent the mood from
becoming too pretentious, such as wallpaper designed to look like a collage of
vintage wine labels, and wall sconces of wine glasses.
We love that Rouge serves glasses of wine
(ranging from 30 to 40LE) that would normally only be sold by the bottle at a
restaurant. So if you’re curious about
Ayyam wine or want to treat yourself to a bubbly cocktail (ranging from 50 to
55LE); now is your chance to indulge. And don’t worry about not getting your money’s worth; Rouge’s pours are
From the cocktail selection, we especially
like the French 75 cocktail (50LE) with Butler’s gin, Aida sparkling wine,
sugar and lemon. The drink has a light
and refreshing taste, but if you’re looking for a weaker drink, this isn’t your
best bet. The strawberry champagne
cocktail (50LE) has less strength, but we were rather put off by the vanilla
flavour mixed with the sparkling wine and strawberry juice.
We do think it was unnecessary for Rouge to
jump on Cairo’s sushi craze; we find that many of Egypt’s wines overpower the
delicate flavours of raw fish. However,
the nigiri was fresh and prepared well, ranging from 6LE to 8LE a piece, while
maki rolls are mostly in the low 40LE-range and sashimi plates are similarly
priced. We recommend sticking with a
bottle of sparkling wine (150LE) or glass of white wine.
If you’re looking for more robust flavours at
Rouge; you can’t go wrong with the cheese platter (55LE). The plate is filled with slices of salty
gruyere and semi-hard goat’s cheese, cubes of pungent Swiss and wedges of
creamy Roquefort and gooey brie. Served
with dark table grapes, the imported cheeses are really pleasing.
Aside from a few odd choices on the menu,
Rouge has a good thing going. The wine
bar will be a welcome destination to anyone seeking a quiet, sophisticated
night out in Cairo.