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Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.
La Poire: Egyptian-Style Party Nibbles
The go-to place for picking up cakes and tarts– or so we’re told– La Poire has several locations all across Cairo , although none in Zamalek are accessible to the public: the two Zamalek locations are safely guarded behind the Ahly Club and Gezira Club walls. So we ventured out to Garden City to sample their wares.
Only being able to order a 1/4 kilo each of sweet (17.50LE) or savoury (18.75LE) bite-sized treats, we were forced to sample more than we bargained for– tough job, we know. Of the savoury bites, we chose mini-pizzas, anchovy rolls, cheese and mint pouches, and buttery bread twists. The petit fours include goodies like mini-orange gingerbread cupcakes, chocolaty sandwich cookies, biscuits with jelly centres, layered chocolate bars, and mini-iced white tarts with creamy nutty filling. We also threw in a slice of raspberry cheesecake (14LE) and a vanilla mousse layer cake (7LE) just for kicks.
Not everything tasted fresh or particularly special, but it does depend on your taste. Some of us rather enjoyed the pizza bites with bits of olives, peppers and tomatoes, and especially the anchovies, while others found the anchovies too salty and the sweets generally too sweet. We gave the gingery cupcakes marks for creative flavouring, but ultimately they got a pass as they were rather dry. Highlights were the creamy nutty (but super sweet) mini-tart and the well-made layered chocolate bar; both really good sweets to impress at a party.
The beautiful looking cheesecake was sadly not up to par, containing more cream than cheese with a gelatinous consistency. We ordered the caramel mousse, but were served the vanilla mousse instead. It ended up also being very creamy and quite heavy, though some of us did like it.
La Poire also carries a selection of tea sandwiches and finger foods, chocolates and baklava, which are very popular during Ramadan and the feasts. The Garden City branch’s Alice in Wonderland-like door leads to a small café with about three tables off to the side, where you can enjoy your purchase with hot drinks (a latté costs 17LE), or full-sized sandwiches (about 20LE) and sodas.
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.