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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.
With an abundance of overcrowded restaurants and cafés in Cairo, it's about time the teens of the city were offered something a little different. First opened by college students, Smart Lounge is aimed at fulfilling both the academic and recreational needs of a younger crowd. As a result, the technologically inspired venue is an occupational mash-up of a copy centre, cafe, snack stand and ‘cyber café’ – where one can indulge in a few hours of video games.
Visible from the outside by brightly lit signage, Smart Lounge occupies a spacious ground floor apartment complete with tiled floors and garish red walls; the interior is far from fancy, however a certain charm turns it into a second home for many of their regular customers.
Services provided include black and white printing (1LE per page), plastic folders (1LE or 3LE), scanning (1LE per page), photocopying (0.20LE per page), Playstation (25LE single player or 30LE multiplayer per hour), Xbox (30LE per hour), shisha (15LE), snacks (2LE-8LE), and beverages (4LE-8LE). With the exception of beverages and shisha, everything is self-service and customers are treated more like house guests than patrons. However, the cashier’s desk at the entrance of the shop serves as a subtle reminder of their business status.
The snack and beverage concession stand serves a wide variety of coffee and tea packets, chocolates, snack cakes, instant noodles, chips, cookies, soft drinks, juice boxes and water. Turkish coffee is also available for those late night study sessions.
With six tables – three outside and three inside – twice as many power outlets and free Wi-Fi, at least one group of students are likely to be drowning in lecture notes or presentation slides. Two TV sets are located at each seating area and always have something interesting on; the staff seem to have a knack for knowing when to change the channel.
Shisha is provided by popular brand, Mazaya, and comes in many different flavours, including more unusual types such as rose, grenadine and plum. Although the guy in charge of replenishing the coals isn’t always around when needed, a quick yell usually gets him hurrying back.
For video gaming, there are four fully equipped rooms with widescreen LED TV sets, bean bag chairs and lank leather couches. Most rooms comfortably hold four players and around six onlookers. The most popular console seems to be the Playstation, although the Xbox or Wii can be set up on request. Despite the wide variety of games on offer, the most demanded are Call of Duty, Tekken, FIFA, and PES – only original CDs and gamepads are used.
Although you won’t find anybody over the age of 30 frequenting the café, Smart Lounge is a laid-back, neighbourhood hang-out that provides just about everything necessary for a fun – and sometimes even productive – evening with friends.