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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
The Four Fat Ladies: The Best Dessert Specialist in Zamalek?
One of the busiest roads in Zamalek is Brazil Street; not least because of the number of dessert specialists lined along it – from Nola and Khameera, to Lo2met 3eish and Gelato Mio, there are certianly plenty of optionsfor the sweet-toothed. That didn't, however, worry The Four Fat Ladies when it moved from El Yamama Center to join the Brazil Street dessert battle.
The small bakery only has four tables attached to each other to form one long table with four chairs on one side and one big couch on the other. The couch isn't the most practical of set-ups, but from the white and orange walls and the hung wooden spoons on the window, to the cute "Peanut Butter is my boyfriend" frame and the blackboard menu, the ambiance of TFFL is the definition of less is more, with its simple yet neat interior.
The simplicity isn't shown only in their interior, but in their mouth-watering desserts, too. With a fantastic variety of desserts ranging from classic cakes and muffins, to pies and cheesecakes, TFFL's desserts have a taste of home to them, different to the more commercial bakeries; they've even brough back classics like Marble Cakes and Bundt Cakes.
After 15 minutes of wandering and staring like a lost kid at the fridge display, we finally settled on Carrot Cake in a Pot (16LE), a Salted Caramel Brownie Bite (4.50LE) and S'mores Brownie Bites (4.50LE), but we started with slice of Chocolate Fudge with Peanut Butter Frosting (19.50LE).
What made this simple doubl-layered chocolate fudge cake different than any other is how moist it was; it had a melt-in-your-mouth texture and the smooth and fluffy peanut butter frosting had a spot-on amount of sugar.
Served as a trifle in a plastic pot, with a remarkable cinnamon flavour, meanwhile, the carrot cake on its own lacked sugar while the cream cheese frosting - which by the way had a fantastic smooth consistency - was overly sweet. Even though you could argue that each element had its flaws, the cake and the cream cheese frosting balanced each other and made one great carrot cake.
We saved the best for last with those little pieces of heaven, aka the brownie bites. As two pieces of fudgy brownies filled with salted caramel, the salted caramel brownies were more brownie sandwiches, but had a dense, yet moist, texture and an intense chocolate flavour which worked really well with the salted caramel. Filled with chocolate chips and stretchy marshmallow, the s'mores brownie – or should we say blondie - had a perfect chewy texture, but was more of a cookie-variation than a brownie.
Overall, there was little to complain about at the time of our visit and we can happily declare The Four Fat Ladies as the winner of the Brazil Street Dessert Battles. The ambiance is cosy and the staff is helpful, but the key to TFFL is the fact that it does the basics well and doesn't go overboard when it chooses to add a twist to classic desserts.
With Brew & Chew satisfying the cravings of Maadi residents, and Dip n Dip spreading their fantastic desserts in New Cairo, Nasr City and 6 of October City, the sweet-toothed of Zamalek can be forgiven for feeling a little neglected – that is until now. Chocolate by name, chocolaty by nature, Joe’s Chocolate Bar on Taha Hussein Street could be the answer to every chocaholic’s dreams.
As a venue, Joe’s Chocolate Bar is divided into two floors; the top floor has nothing remarkable about it but allows smoking, while the ground floor is where the ‘chocolate is. Besides the melted chocolate-like decoration on the wall (which is installed upside down, so instead looks like chocolate waves) the calm lighting and wood walls create a relaxing and cosy ambiance to the place.
The items on the menu are limited and nothing grabbed our attention, but we opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake (47LE), Triple Chocolate Crepe (41LE) and their new special item – as the waiter was so keen to mention – Oreo Waffle (49LE).
The molten chocolate cake had a bold chocolate flavour and a very moist texture; the gooey centre had a fantastic pudding-like consistency, which shows that it was cooked to perfection and, overall, the dessert had a spot-on sweetness. On the other hand, we would have preferred that the ice cream was served separately, because the hot temperature of cake melted it quickly and made the top of the cake rather soggy.
The triple chocolate crepe was just as good, meanwhile; coming as three thin, light and fluffy triangular servings, each one was filled with a generous amount of melted milk chocolate, and drizzled with white, milk, and dark chocolate. We also asked for fruit (10LE) on the side which consists of mini cubes of kiwi, bananas, and strawberries, and it was surprisingly fresh even though it’s not strawberry season yet.
As for the Oreo waffle, we expected nothing more than a waffle with crushed Oreo on top, but, impressively, the waffle itself had an actual layer of Oreo in the middle. Despite the waffles needing a little more milk chocolate on top and being a bit chewy, they were largely soft with a slightly crispy exterior, and the flavour of the Oreo popped in every single bite.
Joe’s Chocolate Bar definitely impressed with their well-executed desserts and big flavours, but we felt that the variety on the menu is too safe and a bit limited for a dessert specialist. We’d very happily come back for the molten chocolate cake, though.