Eish we Malh
Eish we Malh (‘bread and salt’) is one of Cairo’s trendy cafes in Downtown. It’s a bit too new and clean-cut to fit the ‘hipster’ definition, but it comes close. The café abuts the formerly-seedy, recently revamped Kodak Lane and is one of the only places in Cairo serving chai latte.
The café opened in 2014 after the success of its sister café, Kaffein on Sharif Street in Downtown. The owner set out to create a more flexible space for a variety of users, and has done just that. Eish we Malh is most popular for its peaceful atmosphere in Downtown, a place to have a cup of good-quality coffee, a catch up with a friend over a tasty meal or a study session on the mezzanine level on comfy sofas. But it also offers a gourmet dining experience and is occasionally used as a venue for live music and events.
The café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (from 8.30am to 12.20am), and has a great selection of items that are not easy to find elsewhere. The breakfast items include a full range of great coffees, breakfast pizza and pastries. The lunch and dinner menu is divided into Bread, Soup & Salad, Mediterranean Lunch Specials, Pizza, Pasta, Main Courses, Desserts and a wide selection of drinks. There is a long list of pizzas and pastas that are made in true Italian style – only a few elements in each dish but fresh, high-quality produce. They make all of their pastas and pizza bases in-house. The main courses (45-95 LE) are hearty and include risottos, grilled chicken, eggplant or chicken parmigiana and steaks.
There are a number of standout items on the menu but it is tricky to decide whether to go for the healthier, fresh items such as the Chickpea and Feta Salad (23) and Bruschetta (18 LE) or splurge on the delectably calorific dishes such as the Quattro Formaggi pizza (39 LE) and Beef Fillet with a creamy mushroom sauce (85 LE).
The desserts menu boasts quality not quantity with a choice of six items: a dark and delicious chocolate brownie with ice cream (23 LE); a tantalisingly good tiramisu (25 LE); old fashioned cheesecake (23 LE); three scoops of ice cream (18 LE); and a fresh fruit salad (25 LE).
It’s a shame you can’t enjoy a nice bottle of wine or beer with your meals at Eish we Milh (they haven’t been able to obtain a license); but there’s a large selection of teas (10-17 LE), good quality coffees (10-23 LE), iced teas and coffees (16-25 LE), hot chocolates and chai latte (16 LE), milkshakes (26 LE), fresh juices (12-19 LE), and shisha.
The food prices range significantly from 20 LE for light meals or starters to 95 LE for the delicacies, so the café provides well for different budgets.
The café’s staff are responsive (mainly because there are so many of them on the floor, especially in the evenings), and the owner is repeatedly spotted roaming around greeting customers. The café takes bookings for groups and also does takeaway.
There is no door policy or dress code, and the place has a very friendly vibe. It’s a great place to sit and watch the buzz of Downtown outside.