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Saigon Lounge and O Bar: Fairmont Nile City back on the scene

Once a Vietnamese eatery, Saigon at the Fairmont Nile City has become Saigon Lounge for Asian delicacies. The Asian hub launched on 20 February covers an array of foods: Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian.

The restaurant is spacious and the interiors are simple, contemporary and very Asian. The wide floor-to-ceiling windows show off the beautiful Nile and add more beauty to the eating experience.

A few steps from the restaurant and opposite to the kitchen is a lounge with majestic silver engraved doors. The lounge is gently lit and the huge French windows add to the mood. The neon-lit bar at the end of the room gives a modern feel to the eatery. The mirror walls are slightly distracting but blend in well with the rest of the interior — leather couches and low tables. The room welcomes relaxed gatherings and friendly conversations.

At Saigon Lounge, you can order food from any restaurant within the vicinity of the hotel. To make the eating experience complete, there is a hip sushi corner outside the lounge for sushi lovers.

For the most part, the food is delicious, with the sea bass, satay and sushi at the top of the list. Laksa, nasi goreng, pad thai, pepper crab, chili crab and glass noodle salads are among the many dishes you can choose from, in addition to the typical dumplings, spring rolls and crab cakes. Some of the tastes might be foreign to Egyptian clientele, which is why the tasting selection of small portions is recommended for a more comprehensive dining experience.

Exact prices for the high-end establishment were not available because it was opening night.

For dessert, the creme brulee is highly recommended.

The Saigon Restaurant and Lounge is open from Monday to Saturday , but you have to call to reserve your table. The place is ideal for romantic diners and semi-formal business meetings, but the mood is relaxed, and even if you’re planning a quick drink before hitting the night scene, Saigon Lounge is likely to convince you to stay. 

If a drink is what you have in mind, hit O Bar on the hotel’s ground floor. The drinks and the cocktails are nice and creative, especially the ginger ale, apple juice and vodka cocktail. Prices are reasonable — none of the expected hotel alcohol prices — and bartenders proved skilled in mixing and generous with servings. The place looks like a gentleman’s club or a huge bachelor pad with black-and-white striped walls, tan leather furniture, neon lights and a mirrored ceiling.

DJs will include Fairmont frequenter Amr Hosny on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the bar’s resident DJ for the rest of the week. On Fridays, O Bar is looking into getting visiting DJs or potentially live music.

The hype for O Bar has been fierce: the opening, delayed two weeks in light of the Port Said massacre, was host to Cairo’s party scene regulars and invitations were in high demand. To add to the bachelor theme, scantily clad women stood about on display and a photo shoot was set up in a section of the club near the DJ. 

O Bar is relatively large and booths in the back with high partitions make it rather private and not conducive to mingling. The small lounge near the DJ booth has been dubbed the Boudoir, although at this point there is still nothing boudoir-ish about it. Their Tuesday “Ladies’ Night,” along with the cigar display cases and abundance of leather pose what can only be seen as identity issues, and only time will tell whether O Bar becomes a party spot for the Cairo’s young and restless, an over-40s gentlemen’s cigar lounge or a gathering spot for the over-30 career women to network and mingle.

The Saigon Restaurant and Lounge and the O Bar are located at Fairmont Nile City. Address: 2005 B, Corniche al-Nil, Cairo. Telephone: 224619494.

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