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Puff Pie: Colourful Snacks in Zamalek
Located just around the corner from Mobinil in Zamalek, Puff Pie might be a bit difficult to find first time round. Sitting across from Roma Laundry, the interior of Puff Pie is black with a lot of bright yellow details. The venue itself is very small and therefore not really suitable for having an elaborate lunch or dinner. Upon requesting the menu we were presented with an iPad. Whether this is the usual system or the real menu’s are still in print remained was unclear. We opted for the Spinach Cheese puff pie (20LE), the Chicken Mushroom puff pie (22LE), the spud with fresh fruit (20LE) and took a vanilla milkshake while we were waiting (15LE). The milkshake was prepared on the spot and was full of vanilla flavour. It was definitely refreshing but a bit too sweet for our liking.
After waiting around for a while we were presented with the food and that’s where the questioning began. We were not quite sure what we had on our plate. What we saw were yellow, red and dark purple rolls with filling. We started off with a yellow piece filled with cheese and spinach. The filling was exceptional and tasted delicious. The yellow roll in which it was wrapped was fairly tasteless and we couldn’t figure out quite what it was. Perhaps dough or egg as one of our dining partners speculated. The chicken mushroom wasn’t disappointing either. The chicken pieces were tender and the mushrooms were fresh. They were covered in a white béchamel-type sauce and also wrapped in the bright red and yellow ‘pastry’. When we got to dessert, we couldn’t exactly find the spud in our spud with fresh fruit but it wasn’t bad. We found it a bit too sweet but the portion of fruit was very generous. Though we absolutely enjoyed our little bites we are still clueless about the wrap. As a side dish we were presented with a big bowl of vegetables. The only downside was that our food definitely got heated up in the microwave making it a bit soggy. Perhaps heating up in an oven would fare better.
If you have a party or gathering, it wouldn’t hurt to have Puff Pie cater for you. The bites look very appealing and give a funky twist to regular finger food.
Shisha, hookah, water-pipe – whatever you want to call it, it’s every bit as essential to Cairo cafes as chairs and tables are and the majority of places across the city serve it as a key ingredient to the quintessential Egyptian experience.
Located in the bustling Marghany Street, Hookah Lounge stands out with its bright purple sign and white painted walls. We were greeted at the entrance by a waiter, who offered us the choice of either indoor or outdoor seating. Spending any kind of prolonged time outside in Cairo in November is likely to have you shivering to the bone, but Hookah Lounges outdoor area is equipped with surprisingly effective heaters.
We were instantly seated in the mildly crowded lounge without having to wait and had our menus laid out before us in a jiffy.
The design of the place immediately puts you at ease, boasting a laid back white and silver colour scheme. We especially loved the gigantic, colourful shisha design strewn to the side wall and thought it added a rather charming feel to the place.
Going for a rather non-fussy menu, Hookah offers no-fuss mainstream dishes; pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, salads and burgers pretty much dominated the menu. For the shishas, however, they offer a wide range of flavours and mixes.
We placed our order and had our shishas by our sides a few minutes later. The blueberry-vanilla (27LE) was quite heavenly, albeit a bit too strong in flavour. We, nonetheless, loved it. The cherry-vanilla (27LE), which wasn't on the menu, but made as a special request for us, was much lighter than the former and tasted just as delightful. Our coal, however, was not regularly maintained and we had to ask the waiter continuously to change it.
Arriving right after the shishas, our steaming main dishes looked absolutely mouth-watering. The Fried Mozzarella (25 LE) consisted of four large pieces of fried, breaded cheese with a dip and tasted as sinful as deep-fried cheese should taste. Our Chicken Alfredo pasta (49 LE) came in a hefty serving and consisted of penne pasta – as requested – topped with dense white sauce and grilled chicken chunks, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Though nothing stands out as being extraordinary in the food department, everything was cooked well and served in big, filling portions.
But this being a cafe called Hookah Lounge, the focus is very much on shisha and though it wasn’t tended to as regularly as one would like, the quality and variety of the different flavours makes it a haven for shisha fans.