Lino’s: Straightforward, Nile-Side Sohour in Zamalek
The lack of decent river-side restaurants in Cairo always astounds us; it appears that many establishments rely on the view to do all the hard work. Italian eatery, Lino’s, at Zamalek’s Club33 seems to follow suit with an incredible view, contrasted with shabby decor. Fortunately their Ramadan decorations – jolly khameya print table cloths and lanterns – took some of the attention away from the otherwise weathered furniture.
The minimum charge of 75LE per person can be made up from either their al a carte choices, or their Ramadan set menu. Their sohour menu (75LE) is a simple, traditional Egyptian, six-dish ensemble, with a couple of variations for each dish whilst their usual menu boasts salads and sandwiches to meat dishes, pizza and pasta.
We ordered one set sohour menu complete with Greek salad, cheese and tomato, Alexandrian foul, tehina, taameya and an omelette as well as a lasagne (45LE) and a pollo parmaggiano (69LE). Disappointingly, the lasagne fell short of our expectations by lacking an authentic, rich tomato taste. Likewise, the chicken in the parmaggiano was slightly rubbery with a potent cheese topping, and came with a side of undercooked pasta rolled in an unspectacular white sauce.
The generously sized sohour dishes quickly filled up our table and eased our dissatisfaction with simple, pleasant tasting food. The greek salad was fresh and crunchy, with a decent amount of bitter feta cheese and herbs, whilst the tehina and cheese and tomato paste were creamy with the latter being a sweeter dip for the average-at-best beladi bread. Our Alexandrian foul was a tasty base for our own seasoning, the taameya was both crispy and soft at the same time and the omelette was effortlessly flavoursome.
Not included in the sohour menu price, we ordered one sweet, strawberry slushy as well as an unsuspectingly milky cantaloupe juice which would be better grouped under the term milkshake rather than fruit juice. Several different sodas (11LE-25LE) were delivered too, served chilled with glasses of ice.
For dessert we ordered one chocolate cake (26.50LE) and a strawberry cheesecake (32LE). However, soon after ordering, we cancelled the chocolate cake to which we were told even if we don’t eat it, there was no way of taking it off the bill. Despite the dispute that followed, we moved on to the strawberry cheesecake which was delectable and deliciously velvety but a little thin on the biscuit base, although that didn’t matter much.
Lino’s offer an uncomplicated, no-frills Sohour experience with reasonably priced, simple food options and a beautiful, breezy Nile view.