Keif Restaurant & Café: Lebanese Dining Chain Comes to Heliopolis
Everybody in Cairo loves a fruity shisha alongside a hearty meal, right? With existing branches in Lebanon, Keif Restaurant and Café has opened up in Heliopolis and serves up in a quirky, contemporary setting. Set back from the monstrously busy El Nozha Street and sheltered behind a large wall, a giant white patterned, attention-grabbing screen covers a big portion of the building and is easily noticeable to passersby.
We wandered in during the week without reservations and found the place packed with both young and old patrons. The restaurant is made up of two floors, both of which open up to let fresh air in, as well as an attractive outdoors area complete with grass and heaters. We were seated on the top floor and quickly realised how understaffed Keif is; the waiters ran around like headless chickens but were more than happy to help when we managed to grab their attention.
The drinks section was an eclectic mix of hot and cold drinks, milkshakes, smoothies, sodas, cocktails and more. We went for two slushy concoctions; one delectable, fruity red peachy smoothie (21LE) and a slightly less-tasty, watery summer fruit smoothie (21LE).
The food menu boasts a huge range of Lebanese appetisers along with soups, burgers and Italian dishes. In next to no time our selection of starters arrived; creamy, delicious hummus (21LE) served with cold but soft balady bread, as well as golden, brilliantly seasoned sambousek (6LE/piece) and thinly sliced pieces of sogo’ (35LE), which were a little dry but well-marinated. To follow, we requested a mixed grill (85LE) – a combination of lamb kofta, chicken kofta, veal and grilled chicken. The portion was generous, but, again, the chicken was slightly dry whilst the koftas were a tad oily, but both were tasty nonetheless. Redeeming the dish, the veal and chicken pieces were juicy and well-seasoned.
When it came to ordering dessert, the waiter informed us that despite promoting over ten sweet dishes on the menu, they did in fact only have three available; ice-cream, fruit or cheesecake. The cheesecake took our fancy and from a range of unusual flavours including date and carrot, we decided on cherry. The biscuit base was a little on the thin side, whereas the creamy middle layer was soft and fluffy, complemented by the sweet, cherry sauce on top.
We ended our meal with a grape shisha (28LE), which arrived promptly and turned out to be both strong and flavourful.
Although the food was far from exceptional, the buzzing vibe from the upbeat background music, the laid-back crowd, the modern décor and friendly, fast-moving waiters keep the masses returning time and again.