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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Milk Bar: Dairy-Infused Refreshments at Citystars
When we were young, we were told that milk is good for us. As a child, you are forced into your one cup of dairy a day to keep the doctor away. They promise you strong, blindingly white teeth and titanium bones. Then, as you get older you find out that almost every diet tells you to stay away from dairy products unless its organic, lean yoghurt that comes from an alpine goat that’s lived on organic grass its whole life. But even then; not too much. For all kids out there who aren't too crazy about milk or those adults who still love it, Milk Bar in Citystars bring you milk with a twist.
The worst part about Milk Bar is that it’s located in the always packed first-floor food court on . You can easily spot the stand with its bright pink and blue colours. There isn't an extensive menu or anything. As a matter of fact, there is no menu at all. Instead some of the available options are on a billboard. The best way to go about ordering is to choose one of the options and ask which flavours are available. The options are frozen coffee, milk shakes, smoothies, yogurt creations and ice cream scoops with diverse dips Warning: upon asking about flavours the initial answer will be 'all flavours'. However, when we requested quinoa, it wasn't available- typical.
The available flavours are pretty bog-standard like strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, mango, kiwi, etc. With the yoghurt creations you can also pick from fresh fruits. We opted for the chocolate milk shake (15LE) and the yoghurt creation with fresh strawberries (15LE). As soon as you give your order, the friendly staff immediately begins mixing and concocting). The milk used is from the brand Labanita.
The yoghurt strawberry creation was a bit different to our expectation. We expected it to be much thicker than it was, and while it tasted good, it was more like a milkshake than a yoghurt-based drink. Another disappointment came in the way of the strawberries, which didn’t taste the least bit fresh. The chocolate milkshake was a thick ice-cold blend which tasted delicious. It had a strong chocolate flavour, but downside of this drink was that it's very heavy on the stomach, and after a few sips we couldn't take any more.
Milk Bar has a varied amount of dairy drinks and when in desperate need of some milk infused refreshments you should definitely try it.
From cupcakes to frozen yoghurt, Cairo cafes and restaurants have seen all sorts of food fads and fashions. Recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of ice-cream parlours popping up to help out with the heat. Aptly named Ice, the Zamalek venue offers a range of refreshing ice-cream flavours, alongside smoothies, milkshakes and other sweet treats. The shop itself is fairly understated; although the walls are brightly coloured, there is no indoor seating, creating a vast, bare space between the open front and service counters.
We were warmly greeted at the door and handed one of their paper takeaway menus. With such a diverse selection of fresh juices, cocktails, milkshakes, ice-creams and tarts, it took a while to make any decisions; a process which was helped along by offering tasters of all the ice-creams we fancied.
From their delicious looking chocolate, fruit and nut flavours, we requested a taste of their deliciously fruity mango sorbet, sweet yoghurt and raspberry as well as creamy praline flavours. We didn't see any biscuit cones, just tubs for ice-cream. Priced per scoop, we fell in love with the nutty praline ice-cream (8LE), and paired it with one scoop of sensational, Galaxy chocolate (6LE) ice-cream, complete with hidden chocolate flakes. We also couldn’t resist two scoops of said yoghurt and raspberry ice-cream.
As there was only one blender, the drinks took a while to prepare and considering the medium sized cups were a little on the small side, we ordered all our drinks in large. Firstly, we ordered one smooth and creamy vanilla milkshake; we could taste that their quality, vanilla ice-cream had been used to make it. Next, we had assumed our Banana Mama cocktail (12LE) would be both banana and strawberry juice of the same consistency; however, half the cup was filled with an incredibly sweet strawberry puree whilst the other was a more fluid, milky mixture with just a hint of banana – which didn't mix well. The fresh watermelon juice (9LE) was slushy but under-ripe, which unfortunately meant it tasted a little too watery. Lastly, our Oreo milkshake (17LE) fared better and was every bit the sickly, chocolaty concoction we were expecting.
Also on offer were a number of interesting ice-cream cakes displayed in a large, glass fronted freezer. Alongside the colourful Fruitopia cake, named because of the plethora of different scoops of fruit ice-creams on top, we spotted the Syrian dessert, mastic cassata (85LE). Made on site by their resident Syrian chef, it’s about as authentic as it gets, with a little added sweeteness for Egyptian taste.
On the other hand, the drinks were not the best we’ve tasted, but were indeed refreshing and for such reasonable prices, it's difficult to have any complaints. Whilst the décor at Ice may not speak volumes, the ice-cream certainly does and given its central location, we're likely to go back for more.