Located just around the corner from Hardee’s in Zamalek, Karfficho’s deep navy exterior stands out on the dark Mansour Mohamed street. The chain has two popular cafés in Hurghada, and so it was only a matter of time before it hit Cairo.

Outdoor seating is available at the café, where a few tables and chairs are cramped on a surface of stones that look like pieces of limestone. Inside, you’ll find higher tables and chairs, as well as booths to slide into.

The basic coffees at Karfficho are generally as good as you’d find at other big chain competitors. The latté (13.95LE) was strong and sharp – just how we like it. At 14.95LE, the hot apple cider was worth every piaster. The tall piping hot glass of brown apple and cinnamon sweetness was downed in no time. Although it lacked the spice promised by the menu, it was the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and the thick cinnamon sticks rounded off the taste.

The fruit fusa looked like one of the more interesting drinks on a menu that is actually quite imaginative. The tiered drink rests on a layer of espresso and is topped with a tower of whipped yoghurt, which is interrupted by slices of banana, strawberry, kiwi or orange, and finished off with a heavy spewing of syrup. The whipped yoghurt actually tasted suspiciously like whipped cream, but there was a little kick to it; so we’re choosing to give Kafficho the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is indeed yoghurt. The single shot of espresso at the bottom is strong and rich, the kiwi and banana slices tasted fresh and we were treated to a healthy helping of strawberry syrup to make up for the fact that there were no strawberries. You can also opt for the chocolate or caramel fusa.

The cranberry smoothie (20.95LE) was filled to the rim with ice and tasted more like a slightly rich slush puppy. Other notable flavours include coconut, kiwi and white peach.

Much was expected of the tuna and pasta salad (23.95LE), which began to disappoint from the moment the bowl touched the table. Even for a salad it looked a little messy, and was overall pretty tasteless – the tuna in particular. There was little seasoning or dressing to talk of, and there was no ruccola as stated on the menu. Other salads on offer include the chicken Mexicana, the classic Caesar salad, the Kafficho Greek and the crab salad.

For reasons beyond our understanding, the grilled three-cheese Panini (15.95LE) was served not grilled. The three-layered sandwich was pretty delicious, though; and is served with a big portion of crisps. Out of the cheddar, Gouda and blue cheeses used to make the sandwich, the latter particularly stood out. We did have one complaint, though; the bottom layer of the white bread became soggy and fell apart, presumably from wet lettuce and tomato.

Despite everything that Kafficho seems to do right, it offers very little that can transcend it in amongst the growing number of big coffee houses in Zamalek, and will function more as a convenient spot rather than a desirable one.