Jo Mateo is a freelance writer from New York City currently living in Perth.
Published April 21st 2014
Barun khanal / Wikimedia Commons
There's no doubt that Aida Shisha Lounge is Egyptian owned. Every space is adorned with relics of Pharaohs, pyramids, and the colours of the flag. It's a beautiful reflection of Egypt oddly placed in the centre of Northbridge surrounded by a mini Chinatown. Unlike most of Perth, the food is authentic. It is prepared by an Egyptian cook, the owner who calls himself "Sam".
Sam is a prideful fella, who has constantly reminded me throughout my time spent there, that if a customer does not like his place, they can walk themselves to the door. His policies are not unlike other places. Sam doesn't want to see drunk, drugged, or any disorderly conduct in his "home" and has a policy for every two people entering into the shisha room, they must smoke at least one shisha.
Walk out of the restaurant through a long hallway and you walk into the shisha room. An outside seating area with mirrors and televisions places around it. It's easy to overlook that you are actually seated outside. The tables and chairs are shabby which Sam explains to me is the result of some people burning holes in his furniture.
If you want a drink or coal, you can walk right up and help yourself. Sam explains that he wants his customers to feel at home and believes that giving them the freedom to do this, they will respect the place as if it's their own. The shisha flavours are traditional and basic, however the taste of the shisha isn't very good. But like Sam as reminded me before, he points and says "if you don't like it, walk yourself through the door".