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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
P.S Café: New Restful Café in Zamalek
Everywhere you look in Cairo there is always a new café opening up and it usually happens at the speed of light. Take P.S Café in Zamalek for instance. Located just off of Brazil Street, P.S Café is fairly secluded from the chaotic traffic on 26th of July Street.
The interior décor is quite funky with dark stone walls and fresh orange detailing. We visited on a sunny morning so we decided to enjoy the weather and sit outside. During the daytime, the outdoor area is quite limited and consists of four or five tables at most. In the evening however, when all the other shops close, the area expands and takes up quite a lot of the pavement; adding more tables. Plants fill the surrounding space and because of the location there is not a lot of direct sun light; so it could be a pleasant refuge on a hot summer day.
The menu at P.S Café isn’t particularly surprising or fascinating. Most of its items are what we see in other cafés such as salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and crêpes. The menu had the occasional spelling mistake which was fairly amusing. We opted for a mango smoothie (12LE), rocca salad (13LE) and the chicken quesadillas (20LE), as well as an American coffee (10LE).
The smoothies we get here in Cairo are never very good; tasting like very cold juice as opposed to one mixed with milk or yoghurt. The smoothie at P.S Café was no different. It was tasty but it just wasn’t a smoothie- it was more like iced juice. The American coffee was quite strong and definitely gave us the caffeine boost we needed. The rocca salad was quite modest; unfortunately it was made with canned mushrooms instead of fresh mushrooms and with grated roomy cheese instead of Parmesan. We were really looking forward to our chicken quesadillas; however, we were ultimately disappointed. They had too many peppers in them, killing the flavour of the chicken, and for some reason there was dill all over – which really makes no sense. The sour cream was thin and seemed more like milk and once again, there was a lot of dill added.
Though the food didn’t impress, P.S Café is great for a drink. With soft drinks and tea starting at 4LE and coffee at 8LE, it’s very cheap. The view is nothing to boast about but at least the street is quiet.
Egypt’s endless collection of cafés seems to have a single identifier: excessive noise. While occcasions often call for the hustle and bustle of a Cairo cafe, one needs to hang out somewhere hushed and more relaxed every now and again for the sake of one's sanity.
Located in one of New Cairo’s Meeting Point, Pottery Cafe offers a small indoor seating area, as well as a less attractive, semi-indoor, tent-covered seating area. Opting for the indoor seating area, we took our seats amongst the almost exclusively white interior, with the exception of a single, brightly coloured wall. The café was neither packed, nor noisy in any way during our visit, making for a generally tranquil ambiance.
A waiter made his way to us a couple of minutes later, with menus in hand. For those not familiar with the popular chain, Pottery Café surprisingly offers an adequate selection of dishes, considering it does not label itself as a restaurant. From salads, pizzas, pastas, fajitas, steaks, sandwiches and burgers to basic desserts, one can definitely assemble a filling meal here. As for drinks, everything from frappes, smoothies, milkshakes and juices are offered.
As soon as we made up our mind, our waiter came by and immediately jotted down our order, arriving back with it about 30 minutes later. Our margarita pizza (33LE) came with the requested toppings of black olives (10LE) and mushrooms (6LE) and was satisfactory yet unspectacular, as was the Quattro Formaggi pizza (42LE). Both were cooked well and without any disastrous faults, but simply lacked any flair or points of interest, so to speak. The Fettuccini Alfredo pasta (39LE) was, on the other hand, quite lip-smacking with the cream sauce having just the right consistency and the penne pasta being well-cooked. It did, however, lack a considerable amount of chicken cubes.
In a nutshell, though branding itself as a café, Pottery Café does a sufficient job at offering an ample array of food options. Though the pizzas were, at best, average, the pasta was quite delectable. And, lest we forget, the café’s general quietness is refreshing and its service to be on point.