corniche El Nil, RAMLET BOULAK, Egypt
NileGuide Expert tip:
Reservations are necessary at Tamarai.
Tamarai is where the most beautiful of the beautiful people go to see and be seen, and it's not unusual to see Egyptian pop stars, actors and other celebs in there.
The setting is gorgeous, if somewhat baffling. Everything is modern, stylish and softly lit in yellows and purples and there are lounging, drinking and eating areas. But the bar has a wooden slatted roof that gives it a pagoda-like feel, there's a veiny purple streamer installation that's reminiscent of something from The Abyss, and weird industrial style piping with embedded orange lights criss-cross the ceiling.
Tamarai is the sort of place you go to have an extremely expensive meal whilst listening to upbeat mood music, and then - especially on Thursdays and Fridays - dance the rest of the night away to more energetic dance music from around midnight. Except, most people who go to Tamarai are too cool to dance, though they can tap, nod, and observe.
The food at Tamarai is, admittedly, excellent, prepared by a Michelin starred French chef. It's a varied mixture of international cuisine (with lots of seafood) including such dishes as red tuna sashimi, herring salad, pigeon pie, goats cheese skewers, lasagna, and of course steaks. Dishes such as the beef carpaccio are to die for. You pay for it though: many dishes are around the 200 LE mark, and lots of the starters are 100 LE.
Tamarai also has a great range of imported wines and spirits, and their cocktails are excellent. Drinks prices are pretty good, with cocktails running at around 70 LE and bottles of decent wine in the low hundreds. If you fancy a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label, though, you'd better have over 1000 LE spare!
The service at Tamarai depends entirely on who you are. If you're a known celeb, or the staff suspect you might be someone, they'll hover around all night and do everything short of actually eating your food for you. If you're a normal person, getting the attention of the serving staff can be as difficult as distracting a yogi in deep meditation.
Money to burn and interested in how the top echelons of Egyptian society live? Head to Tamarai. Otherwise, don't bother.