Zein: Simple Sohour in Sheikh Zayed’s Tivoli Dome
With their wise variety of restaurants, Sheikh Zayed’s Tivoli Dome is a great place to visit if you’re unsure of where to eat for sohour. A little outside of the main city, 6th of October is a tranquil hub of upmarket establishments; being one of the first restaurants inside the Tivoli complex, Zein’s first floor Gallery Café caught our eye immediately with their glass front and contemporary, grey and white colour scheme.
Zein Gallery Café was designed to incorporate art with dining, and host exhibitions from local artists on a regular basis. At the time of our visit, Hani Mahfouz’s colourful pieces were hung on the walls. As a fine artist and graphic designer, his work uses bright colours and cartoon characteristics and is modern, detailed and lively. All the pieces are available to buy, however, the prices are only available upon request.
We arrived late and were the only customers, meaning we were seated promptly; thereon after though, the service seemed to go downhill. The restaurant offers both an à la carte menu; filled with both international and Meditteranean dishes, and a set sohour menu (90LE). Fancying just a light meal, we opted for their sohour menu; a mixture of foul, taameya, cheese and tomato, hommos, omelette and pickles.
Drinks aren’t included, so from their list of cocktails, juices, hot and cold drinks we ordered one peppermint tea (12LE), a hot apple cider (20LE) and guava juice (24LE). The peppermint tea was made with real mint leaves and a branded tea bag, whilst the hot apple cider was far too potent for us to finish. The guava juice was fresh, thick and sweet, made from freshly pressed fruit.
After two gentle reminders and a whole hour of waiting, our simple sohour was finally delivered. The portions were small but could easily be shared between two or three people for a light evening meal. The salad of carrots, cucumber and green peppers was crisp and crunchy, perfect for dipping in our creamy, flavourful cheese and tomato dip. The taameya was soft and nicely seasoned, giving off a fresh, herby taste. Our omelette was effortlessly delectable, avoiding the usual wateriness that sometimes comes with egg dishes. Unfortunately, the bread wasn’t the freshest or the fluffiest; furthermore, the foul was even more unimpressive and bland.
The set menu doesn’t include dessert, however, by the time we’d finished eating the kitchen had closed, so we weren’t given the option anyway – not that we really needed it.
Overall, the sohour atmosphere at Zein’s Gallery Café is relaxed, modish and contemporary, mixing the sophisticated art scene with simple dishes. Despite the long wait, the uncomplicated sohour menu was both reasonably priced and wholesome.