How Aly Hamada, owner of SASS, aims to challenge the norms of your average Egyptian outing by crafting up the full-fledged dining experience we deserve.
In recent years, more and more restaurants and bars have being pumped into an increasingly crowded Cairo. It’s a never ending commercial nightmare for those of us trying to make the best out of our night. There are oh so many places to go, but not enough places that are go-out-able. Whenever you go out it always seems as if you have to sacrifice something for another; switching out comfort for style, taste for atmosphere, and nearly everything for a view. SASS's recent renovation breaks convention and challenges the norm of the Egyptian outing by providing the full dining experience we all so desperately deserve.
Upon entering the new-and-improved SASS, you get this immediate feeling of ease yet class at the same time. The juxtaposition of foliage and the Nile against its industrial, modern design creates a somehow cosy atmosphere without downgrading the upscale ambiance, with the fairy lights and rustic tree branches adding an ethereal touch. To top it all off, from any seat in the place you get best view of the Nile in Cairo made viewable by the wall-height glass windows that embrace the entire restaurant.
“The concept behind [the renovation] is to allow people to sit for hours without feeling suffocated,” explains owner Aly Hamada in an interview with CairoScene. “We completely re-vamped the place with more greenery and lighting to highlight the element of the Nile.”
The incorporation of nature in SASS’s layout provides a much-needed motif of nature that’s lacking in venues in Egypt. You walk into SASS and you exit the hustle and bustle of the noisy concrete jungle that is Cairo. It creates a calming escape encapsulated in a place you can leave all your worries at the door and just breathe.
Hamada has not only upgraded the venue, but made sure to upgrade the quality of the SASS experience itself.
“We now have two Michelin Star chefs from Italy, a bartender from Brazil, and a manager from Paris,” he explains. “This is all to elevate our standard of good quality dining.”
A lot of places in Cairo like to talk big about their foreign chefs. Unfortunately, the novelty stops there and the only thing they have to offer is the fact that they’re not from here, feeding into the old Egyptian adage that foreign is better. Hamada made sure to hire a team that was the real deal and hired them for their skill-set rather than their foreign title. During the interview, one of the chefs stopped by the table and shared his enthusiasm with us.
“Our menu is fresh and up-to-date. We’ve got it all; Italian, French, sushi, American, even- Austrian, Swiss. You name it,” he passionately boasts. “It’s a real international fusion; we’re not stuck to a certain criteria. Anyone who loves food is in the right place.”
It’s clear here that the chefs live and breathe their craft. They don’t just make food, they create and serve.
Their menu is full of international cuisine that’s actually authentic, making it a great refresher from the usual hodgepodge of dishes that are haphazardly slapped on menus so often in Cairo. SASS’s kitchen also runs a tight-ship on ingredients, only using the best. All the ingredients are not only fresh, but are indigenous to the dishes of they serve. This brings a genuine fine dining experience to all SASS-goers that can’t be found anywhere else.
In alignment with their vision of SASS being a place for all times and occasions, brunch is being introduced on Fridays and Saturdays this coming November. This exciting new installment can bring Cairo’s brunch game back to its former glory. SASS tirelessly works on itself and is constantly evolving into a place you can spend your entire day at, at any time of the day.
Putting in the effort to make a business the best it can be is one thing, but to be willing to scratch and rework everything on one that’s already successful takes real devotion. Hamada’s sincerity in bringing the best he can to SASS is as unmistakable as it is rare. His dedication is something that you can truly feel at SASS; the attention to detail and care put into making dining the service it’s supposed to be is weaved into every fibre of the place.