Al Kheima: Nile-Side Sohour in Giza
On a hot, sticky summer’s evening, Nile-side restaurants in Cairo seem like the only option. Yearning for a cool breeze over sohour, we headed to Y Lounge, anchored up on the Giza Corniche. Famous for its fabulous river views, we took our place in the outside seating area of their Al Kheima tent amongst flashing fairy light lanterns, patterned chair covers and other, more subtle Ramadan decorations.
The restaurant offers both à la carte dishes, and a small, simple sohour menu. The usual menu consists of a wide selection of salads, all the usual hot appetisers, pastas and meat grills. From this, we ordered one spaghetti bolognaise (25LE), grilled quail (50LE) and a shish tawouk (44LE).
The spaghetti was served al dente alongside a generous dish of grated parmesan cheese, and whilst the sauce was full of tasty tomato, there was no minced meat to speak of. The shish tawouk was generously sized, with thick, juicy chicken chunks, well-seasoned to give subtle flavouring. Our quail was much larger than we expected, but was grilled to absolute perfection and served alongside spiced, chunky fries.
The sohour food menu features just a few dishes; taameya (25LE), foul (25LE), eggs (30LE), foul with eggs (30LE), mixed cheese (30LE), yoghurt (15LE) and yoghurt with honey (30LE). We picked eggs in omelette form (30LE) which was well-cooked and flavourful; the large mixed cheese platter (30LE), meanwhile, was full of both soft and hard cheeses, some more potent and creamy than others. The bread basket was filled with fluffy baladi bread, perfect for eating with our cheeses. Our yoghurt and honey (30LE) was served with no frills; in the pot with a side of honey, which made the price seem a little extortionate.
The drinks menu is limited to sodas and hot drinks, whereas the sohour list includes all the traditional fresh juices. One amar el din (25LE), sobia (25LE) and kharroub (25LE) took our fancy; each one was sweeter than the next – the sobia in particular was almost overwhelmed with sweetness. Our kharroub had a bitter after-taste, somewhere between coffee, cocoa and caramel, whilst our amar el din was the best, and fruitiest, of them all.
Sohour at Y Lounge can be as simple or as lavish as needed, with no minimum charge or set menu imposed. The Nile-side breeze and views add to the experience, making sohour a relaxed, atmospheric end to a hard day’s fasting.