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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
On the Bake: Welcoming Café in Heliopolis
We wandered up the charming front garden path, drawn in by the novelty windmill over the 'A' in Bake and the bright lights behind the spotless glass façade. The outside seating is limited to just one tiny table, so we headed inside.
We were greeted by a friendly, casually dressed waiter and chose a table complete with a suede sofa on one side and comfortable chairs on the other. The décor is contemporary with neutral colours, trendy wall art and a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
The large, glass counter boastfully displays some delicious looking pastries and pretty tarts which would be a perfect accompaniment to a frothy cappuccino (17.90LE-19.90LE) or a chocolatey Oreo shake (23.90LE). Feeling fruity, we couldn't resist the sound of a mixed berry smoothie (20.90LE) and a fresh strawberry lemon juice (13.90LE).
The mixed berry smoothie was thick, sweet and scrumptious, served with an extra wide straw which was fun but probably slightly unnecessary - felt a bit like drinking out of a hose pipe. The strawberry lemon juice arrived unblended but was equally as fresh and delectable; it came with a normal sized straw.
The food menu is truly diverse, offering a range of different items including breakfast croissants and unusual breads (1.25LE-29.50LE), burgers, pastas, fajita wraps and salads. We dove straight into a chicken sandwich with Swiss cheese (34.90LE) and a chicken power salad with the recommended ranch dressing (39.90LE).
The big portions of food arrived very quickly with the colourful salad almost overflowing on its sizable plate. The chicken sandwich looked more like a giant burger, served in a cold bun rather than the warm bread we were expecting. It was filled with crispy greens, tomatoes, honey mustard dressing and peppery chips. Although the sandwich was tasty and satisfied our hunger, it was nothing out of the ordinary and may have been better if we'd contemplated the other dressing options on offer.
As previously mentioned, the chicken power salad was huge and certainly worth the money. The lettuce was chilled and crispy and the black beans and sweetcorn added diversity to the flavour. The country fried chicken was zesty and cut into bite-sized pieces with the cold and creamy ranch sauce on the side. However, like the sandwich, it didn't wow us into submission.
Next, we were spoilt for choice with desserts. Initially, we ordered a Malteser tart (18.90LE) but due to unavailability, we went for chocolate brownies with nuts and vanilla ice cream (21.90LE).
The dish arrived, the jumbo-sized brownie steaming and covered in rich chocolate sauce and a big dollop of melting ice cream on top. The pieces of nuts sprinkled on top made the texture more interesting and added a little extra flavour. Just as it was advertised, the dish was 'extremely delicious' and big enough for sharing – although you may not want to.
On the Bake is a pleasant and casual café that serves fast, convenient food and delicious desserts. The prices are good and the portions are large so you're guaranteed to leave satisfied if you're looking for a quick meal or drink.
Remember when Cairo was crazy for cupcakes? Nola was one of the first and main names behind the trend; but as with all trends, people can quickly get tired of them – something that has seen Nola introduce cheesecake, brownies, and cronuts to their menu over the years and this year, they’ve added even more
Nola’s newest items has seen the bakery introduce mini sandwiches, chocolate stones, truffles, cake pops, mini lava cakes and Belgian hot chocolate, though not everything was available when we paid the Mohandiseen branch a visit.
We started our way to out sugar coma with a Mini Chocolate Volcano Cake (27LE); a chocolate cake that’s cooked and served in a bowl, with a valley in the centre that’s filled with thick chocolate pudding, before it’s all dusted with cocoa powder. Despite the very basic, un-Nola presentation, the cake had a great spongy texture and handled the luscious melted chocolate pudding perfectly, while the cocoa powder reduced the overall sweetness to a nice balance.
We also tried the white chocolate version (28LE), but found that it wasn’t exactly what was promised. What should have been a white chocolate cake had no white chocolate flavour whatsoever, but the white chocolate shavings on top and the melted white chocolate pudding pool in the middle took care of that. Although it was overly sweet compared to the other one, there was a little bit more to the flavours and textural contrast.
For many, two cakes would be more than enough sugar intake for one day, but we also left the shop with a Chocolate Pop (9LE) and a Red Velvet Pop (8LE). Wrapped in a plastic cover with a mini bowtie, and served on a lollipop stick, the chocolate pop was moist chocolate cake with a fudgy texture, coated with chocolate shell. We enjoyed the flavours, but we’ve tried better in Cairo and there was nothing remarkable about it.
The red velvet pop had a different problem, though; the red velvet cake is coated in red velvet chocolate and had a very strong artificial flavour, which most likely came from the red chocolate shell or the red food colouring in the cake.
We also tried Nola’s hot chocolate (12.50LE) from the serve-yourself station and it’s possibly the best we’ve tried in a long time. Made with Belgian chocolate, it boasts bold flavour and a perfect thick consistency, too.
We’ve come to consider Nola as the maker of the cutest and most colourful cupcakes in town, but the new items don’t follow suit on that front. Luckily, the items we were able to try made up for it when it came to the most important thing flavour. The new items are fun, varied and ever so chocolaty.