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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.
There’s something about going to see a movie that requires constant snacking. At Americana Plaza, the area surrounding the cinema has booths serving everything from ice cream to hotdogs and cupcakes.
What really caught our eye, however, was the Waffle Station booth. The menu isn’t exactly huge, but offers traditional sweet waffles, as well as savoury sandwiches, alongside milkshakes and coffee.
The savoury options all use waffles as bread, including the Cheese Burger (28LE), Chicken and Cheese (27LE), and Club Sandwich (22LE). The desserts include the Sugar and Cinnamon waffle (25LE), Philadelphia Cheese Cake waffle (27LE), Apple and Cinnamon waffle (25LE), or you can create your own where each sauce or topping costs an additional 5LE, and a bowl of ice cream costs 9LE.
We opted for the Cheese Burger and Chicken and Cheese alongside the Sugar and Cinnamon with additional ice cream. When we were reluctant about the Philadelphia Cheese Cake waffle (27LE), the server offered us to try it. We're not too proud to admit that he was right and ordered one as well.
The savoury options tasted just as delicious as they looked. Taking a little longer to prepare than the desserts, the Cheese Burger, topped with melted cheese, onions, lettuce, ketchup and mayo, was very tasty yet surprisingly light. Similarly with the Chicken, topped with cheese and lettuce, we couldn’t decide our favourite. The chicken was cooked very well, and all the ingredients were fresh, and packaged very neatly. While neither of them was particularly filling, we still thoroughly enjoyed them.
The desserts were simply incredible. Topped with walnuts, icing and ice cream, the Sugar and Cinnamon waffle, was our favourite between the desserts. The Philadelphia Cheese Cake topped with berry sauce, despite the novelty, just couldn’t fare up to the Sugar and Cinnamon.
We found Waffle Station to be a very enjoyable experience. It’s not easy to create something delicious with minimal ingredients, let alone create something new.