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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Bread Basket: New Branch Opens in Mohandiseen
Bread lovers living in the vicinity of Gomhouria Square in Mohandiseen should consider themselves lucky as they live just around the corner from one of Cairo’s best bakeries. TBS may have the reputation around town for having the best bread but Bread Basket in Mohandiseen certainly is a strong competitor.
Bread Basket is located above Golio’s restaurant in the calm area of the square. In order to reach the bakery one must pass through Golio’s and take the stairs up. The inside interior is modern and has a lot of grey colours giving a relaxed feel to the venue; there is also a bookstand with books and magazines to read.
They have a huge counter with all sorts of bread, cookies, croissants, doughnuts and muffins; turn the corner and there is a salad bar for making your own salad. We decided to take a seat on the small terrace and enjoy the sun while we were there. The terrace only has three tables so you are lucky if you are able to secure one. The view is hardly spectacular as you mainly look out onto Golio’s roof top; the best part about it are the available plugs, which means you can take your laptop outside if you want.
The menu is quite extensive when it comes to breakfast and bread options. There are various breakfast choices available such as the French breakfast, healthy breakfast and several egg options. Bread wise you can choose from baguettes, buns, ciabatta, rye, bagels, kitke, Lebanese bread and honey comb, just to name a few.
We opted for poached eggs with spinach (20.50LE), a cheese croissant (8.5LE) and a cappuccino (15LE). We were especially excited about the eggs and we weren’t disappointed. The eggs were perfectly cooked, firm on the outside and soft on the inside; they came on a piece of baguette with spinach. The spinach was a bit sour which fared well with the peppery egg. The only complaint we had was about the bread. The baguette was tasty but too small for the poached eggs; they kept rolling off and were a bit difficult to eat. Thankfully, we had received a basket with larger pieces of bread and switching the spinach and egg onto bigger bread made the meal much more enjoyable.
The cheese croissant might be one of the best we ever had in Cairo; it was filled with cheddar cheese and was very crispy and obviously freshly baked. Together with the strong yet creamy cappuccino we couldn’t have asked for a better start to our day.
The staff is very friendly though the service on the terrace was a bit slow. For shisha lovers, it’s possible to get a shisha from Golio’s and smoke it on Bread Basket’s terrace.
Downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Mall isn’t the trendiest place in town, but is overflowing with outlets and all the cafes and restaurants in are situated on the ground floor. Our latest trip was to a cosy little café called Shahrzad. The name, of course, comes from the famous 1001Nights.
With its loud Arabic music, warm colours and dim lighting, Shahrzad Café possesses both the atmosphere of a bar and a café entwined. It’s quite small and dainty inside and actually looks more interesting from a distance, yet all in all the venue is a pleasantly comfortable one with a tantalising drinks menu.
Whether it’s hot drinks, cold drinks or a deliciously sweet cocktail, Shahrzad’s menu provides it all. We ordered Strawberry Juice at (13.75LE); Turkish Coffee (8.50LE) and a Shahrzad Cocktail (14.75LE) which was an interesting mix mixture of kiwi, banana milk and vanilla ice cream.
Firstly the strawberry juice tasted incredibly fresh and contained chunky strawberry pieces; the glass was generously sized too. The Turkish coffee was strong and robust just – as it should be – yet the Shahrzad cocktail, though generously sized and looking quite delicious, wasn’t as enjoyable as anticipated; the sweetness of the banana milk and vanilla ice-cream just didn’t go down well with the sourness of the kiwi. However, overall the prices aren’t bad.
There’s a vast range of drinks to try, however, and the list of cocktails kept us entertained with their unusual names and bizarre mixes, like the Romeo and Juliet; a mixture of mango; banana milk and banana pieces. They also offer canned drinks though these are expensive compared to outside: popular non-alcoholic malt beverage, Byril, costs 10.75LE, while soft drinks are sold at a typically high 9.75LE.
Desserts are available too, though they’re primarily different flavours of ice cream mixed with fruit or topped with chocolate sauce: the famous Banana Split, which is three scoops of vanilla ice cream, banana slices topped with chocolate sauce, is available for 20.75LE.
The final page of the menu consists of shisha and, being reeled in by the exotic flavours, we opted to try the strawberry flavour at a very reasonable 9.25LE as well as the cocktail flavour which cost a rather high 20.75LE. In the context of other places that serve shisha, they aren’t bad prices, but both tasted of a similarly generic fruitiness and were pretty indistinguishable from each other.
When the cheque arrived, we had been charged for a bottle of water we hadn’t opened. To the waiter’s credit, he quickly deducted the item – but make sure to revise your cheque nonetheless. There’s little here that will truly wow you, but Shahrzad offers a pleasant menu and comfortable atmosphere with decent prices.