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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.
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.