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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.
As is the case with any new successful venue, all the hype starts on social media. We first heard about Dip n’ Dip when we saw people sharing unbelievably alluring pictures of desserts that are smothered in all types of chocolate. Needless to say, our willpower shattered a little too easily, and there we were on our way there with one thought in mind: “Adios bikini body and hello, chocolate.”
Located in the fountain area of Cairo Festival City, Dip n’ Dip is averagely sized with indoor as well as slightly smaller outdoor seating areas. To say the place was packed during the time of our visit would be an understatement and so, unsurprisingly, we had to be jotted down on the waiting list. Thankfully, someone cancelled their reservation and we were seated fifteen minutes later.
The interior of the venue paled in comparison to the three huge chocolate fountains with drizzling milk, white and dark chocolate placed on the counter. Our waiter came by immediately with menus in hand and and upon inspection, they revealed that Dip n’ Dip solely specializes in dessert.
From crepes to waffles, cream puff, chocolate fondue, cakes, pain perdu and chocolate mousse, there’s probably no chocolate-covered dessert known to man that isn’t offered there. The items that most stood out to us included the Marshmallow Crepe (45LE), the Fettuccini Crepe (60LE), the Waffle Stick (25LE), and the Triple Chocolate Mousse (35LE).
We opted for the Brownies Crepe (45LE), which our waiter recommended, and the Chocolate Banana Waffle (55LE). Our order took ages to arrive and was on our table more than half an hour later. The wait, however, was worth it for both desserts tasted as delicious as they looked.
The Brownies Crepe, featuring a folded crepe stuffed with crushed brownies that is covered with melted white, milk and dark chocolate, was equal parts heavenly and deadly. We got through half of it before giving up and trying to ward off a diabetic coma. The same can be said for the Chocolate Banana Waffle, which featured banana-stuffed waffles covered in milk and white chocolate, with whipped cream on the side.
All in all, despite the incredible noisiness of the place, with a kid crying here and another screaming there, the desserts were just as promised by their popular pictures on social media: out of this world. You will, however, probably have to wait for some time before being seated- you have been warned.