Meshmesheya Tent, Fairmont Heliopolis

It’s been a few weeks since this was relevant; the Meshmesheya Tent at the Fairmont Heliopolis is a seasonal offering existing only within the confines of Ramadan. The experience, however, warrants this review.

In true 1980s hotel fashion, the poolside at the Fairmont Heliopolis has both the atmosphere and cuisine of something we’ve seen before in movies from a bygone age. At the time of the review, the Meshmesheya tent was not crowded; it was barely 30% full, but granted it was a Monday evening. Not that it could ever be filled; the tent is enormous, easily capable of seating hundreds of people. Large free standing outdoor air conditioners line the perimeter and alternate with 42 inch LCD screen televisions letting the patrons know what programs their missing, although it’s not like you could enjoy the fantabulous shisha, sit on the blue faux-velvet couches and actually hear the TVs. The sound of the nearby live entertainment, provided by a very 1980’s zaftig female performer is both visually and aurally distracting. But maybe that’s the point.

Right at the door, we were greeted by the picture of exasperation and poster child for unwelcoming service. Dressed in a Moroccan Dishdasha and an Egyptian Scowl, the hostess escorted us to a low table with couches with an excellent view of both the impotent Televisions and the virility enhancing entertainment. A few seconds later, the head waiter arrived to ask if we planned on eating now or later; the answer to which was a resounding and –by necessity – loud “Yes”. 5 minutes later, a basket of some of the best Egyptian baladi bread this side of the year 2000. There it sat, lonely and purposeless for another 10 minutes, whereupon a flurry of waiter activity deposited every single item on the set menu on the table at once. There was no timing of courses, no structure to our dining experience. What this inevitably meant was that our foul and omelet went unappetizingly cold as we plowed through everything else on the table.

The quantity and array of food served is very nice, but one could not escape the feeling that we had stepped into a wedding reception from a movie in 1989, complete with rowdy children dressed in tuxedos. The flavors were nothing spectacular and, in the case of the Sujuq and deserts, far less than spectacular. The only true enjoyment was derived from the shisha, which at 30LE, is still pretty steep.

Meshmesheya also serves Fitar; but the set menus are the same: A meatless Set Menu will cost EGP140 (excl Sales and Luxury taxes and Service Charge) and the same menu with an added plate of Mix Grill will cost 240 LE (excl taxes and Charges).

Cooking Time: 30 minutes.


About Wesam E Masoud
Chef Patron of @chefsmarketmasr, Host of @CBCSofra's #matbakh101. I have one degree in Medicine & 3rd degree burns from cooking.

One Response to Meshmesheya Tent, Fairmont Heliopolis

  1. Zaza says:

    Have the prices exploded that much?! So I drop $100-$150 on two people for nothing special? How much should one expect to pay on a night out in Cairo?

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