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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
The Batter Half & Co.: Popular Cairo Confectioner Adds Ice Cream to its Repertoire
Four years ago, the Batter Half and Co. opened its first shop in Zamalek and it wasn't long before it earned a wide fan base with their signature Chocolate Heaven and Red Velvet Cake. Comfortably nestled among the best confectionary shops in Cairo, the Batter Half & Co. decided to take it up a notch this summer by offering ice cream lovers a selection of flavours to choose from.
Wondering if The Batter Half and Co. has what it takes to impress ice cream addicts, we made up our minds to go and see for ourselves.
Arriving a little bit too early, the ice cream hadn't been put on display yet, so we had to wait for about 10 minutes before everything was in its place. Besides a number of innovative flavours like red velvet and biscuit, we found some fruity flavours like mango and lemon as well as the universally-loved flavours including Nutella, coffee and caramel.
Easy as it was to choose what flavours we wanted to try, the process of having them scooped was laborious for the staff; the stone-hard ice cream needed to rest a little before it could be served. But with the lemon being the only flavour supple enough, we decided to have one scoop (15LE) in a cone until the rest of our order was ready, which happened to be a scoop of biscuit, caramel and coffee ice cream .
We had mixed feelings about the lemon; despite being the creamiest lemon ice cream we've ever tasted, we expected a zestier taste worthy of the distinctive flavour of lemon. In regards to the cone, we can't really judge given that we were too early to have a freshly-baked one, but the flavoursome buttery taste made up for the slight limpness the cone had.
Thinking that it would taste like baby food, we were a bit skeptical about the biscuit ice cream, but it turned out to be the highlight of our visit; in addition to being as tasty as fresh butter cookies, it had an exquisite grainy texture – something we never thought we'd enjoy in an ice cream.
Flavoursome and rich, the coffee ice cream also had crunchy bits of something that we honestly couldn't identify. Whether they were chocolate chips, coffee beans or both, those bits boosted the flavour as a whole. Just as good, the caramel flavour had a natural taste without being over sweet.
Now that we liked almost every single ice cream flavour we tasted at The Batter Half & Co., it's clear that the place mastered the art of ice cream making –all the more reason to love it.
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.