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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Nola: More Cupcakes in Cairo, Hurrah!
Here’s yet another reason why living in Zamalek is awesome if you have a sweet tooth! Located on the always busy Brazil Street just off of 26th of July Street is Nola, a quaint and elegant little cupcake shop with charming decor and sweet desserts. Though it’s definitely not the first pastry shop in Zamalek to sell cupcakes (you’ve got Loolie’s and Sugar N Spice in walking distance), it is the first to devote itself entirely and completely to cupcakes.
At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the cupcakes are sold in two sizes, a tiny bite-size and a large size, which– quite honestly– is not as large as we had hoped it would be. The cupcakes are arranged in a glass display shelf on one side of the shop, while the other side holds a chalkboard with the menu list written out in coloured chalk. Nola’s interior is painted in Robin’s Egg blue with elegant floor tiles, white chandeliers and two white high-top tables in the centre for you to wait at while your order is being prepared.
The upper level is completely devoted to the in-house oven and baking section, where a new batch of cupcakes is consistently being baked. So, if they’ve run out of your favourite flavour; be sure to ask when their next batch will be ready: it could be a matter of minutes.
At the time of this reviewer’s visit; the following cupcake flavours were available: chocolate, peanut butter, blueberry, apple, vanilla, carrot, coconut, red velvet and lemon meringue. Prices range from 8.50LE for the vanilla cupcake all the way up to 12LE for the quite extravagant chocolate cupcake.
The cupcakes are all so prettily arranged and decorated; you almost feel bad taking your first bite. Biting into the little treat, you’ll find that the cake’s texture is lovely and chewy with just the right consistency of fluffiness. In some cases such as the vanilla (8.50LE) and carrot cupcakes (11LE), the icing is just a little too creamy; as we prefer ours to be thick and heavy.
Some flavours are also a little too vague; it was difficult to figure out if our cupcake sample was carrot or banana, especially since the cake itself tasted more like banana cake and the icing had too much butter. The lemon meringue (11LE) and coconut cupcakes (9LE) brought interesting twists to the traditional flavours, but while they were sweet and pretty; they were nothing special to write home about.
The red velvet (10.50LE) is decorated with a picturesque, fluffy cake texture, though its cream cheese icing overpowers the cake’s flavour. The chocolate cupcake (12LE) has a rich, creamy chocolate icing that complements the rich chocolate cake.
All in all, the cupcakes at Nola are sweet, pretty and daintily decorated: they’re the perfect gift to bring to a ladies’ afternoon tea or an elegant birthday party. Their moderate sizes and so-so flavours stop them from becoming our all-time favourite desserts in Cairo; but since this is only the shop’s opening week, we see great potential in Nola’s future.
The newest cafe to open on Mohamed Mahmoud Street arrives just in time for Ramadan. Located right next door to Costa, Beirut is quite the little delight.
It really is tiny inside, with just three tables on the first floor and five upstairs; but due to opening just recently it’s still a fairly quiet and laid back environment, and there are also two tables just outside the entrance. The staff inside are very smiley and cheery, which adds to the pleasant atmosphere and they are all happy to go that extra mile for the customers.
The interior design is clean and pleasant with three leather couches and wooden chairs around small glass-topped tables. There is a television and good air conditioning inside plus a toilet on the second floor. Arabic cloth designs hang on the walls and from the ceiling creating a homely environment though overall it isn’t anything particularly special.
To start with we ordered, one fresh lemon juice with mint and one strawberry juice at 10LE each and one green tea costing 5.99LE; coffee and cappuccino are also available as well as an assortment of cold drinks. All the juices are freshly squeezed which is why the prices for these appear a little high; there is the choice of strawberry, kiwi, guava, peach, watermelon, lemon, lemon with mint and orange and all arrive in a tall, chilled glass. The lemon juice with mint and the strawberry (which contained real fruit pieces) were among some of the best we’ve tried in recent times.
The food menu consists of beef burgers, chicken burgers, hot dogs and all the typical fast foods as well as small salads to accompany these. Chicken and beef shawermas are available at 15.99LE.The prices are average and the food is too, but not a bad little diner.
The menu states that it is possible to have small parties and business meetings inside though booking is required and highly necessary due to Beirut’s small interior. Shisha is available to smoke inside too.
Beirut are happy to declare that they will be open very early and late during Ramadan providing breakfast for all and sohour for all.