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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.
While bakeries and confectionaries may not be in short supply around Cairo, the execution of items like donuts, croissants and other assorted goodies is generally questionable. If you were to consider your options for a good donut right now, chances are you can only name a couple of venues because, unfortunately, the donut isn’t the most popular of sweets here.
There’s not really much to a donut; you either have dough and icing, dough and a stuffing, or dough and glazing. That’s pretty much it.
With such a big selection of donuts, cakes, rolls, cookies, brownies and muffins, we were honestly surprised when Big Bites emerged on Road 233 out of nowhere. Sporting a modestly-sized venue with a bright yellow colour scheme, a couple of wooden chairs and tables, and the display of goodies, the server will greet you as you step through the glass door, and pleasantly explain the flavours they have on offer.
We opted for three stuffed donuts; a Blueberry and Cream Cheese (13LE), Apple and Cinnamon (13LE) and Strawberry Jam (13LE), as well as a Walnuts Brownie (12LE), a Cinnamon Roll (20LE) and a regular donut with White Chocolate and Caramel (10LE).
Let's start of with the good; the Walnuts Brownie was quite tasty and surprisingly large, while the walnuts weren’t overpowering and created a good flavour mix with the chocolate. Unfortunately, however, the donuts were the biggest let down; while the stuffing was tasty all around, the dough itself tasted nothing like donuts, but instead closer to cake - and not fresh cake at that. But that wasn't even the biggest problem; a bigger issue was how sweet the whole thing was. By our third bite, all we could taste was sugar.
The Cinnamon Roll, smothered in an obscure icing that neither tasted like cinnamon, nor complimented the cinnamon powder, had the same dough as the donuts, leaving the overall experience rather unfortunate.
Maybe it was an off-night, maybe the goodies were indeed stale, but whatever the case, everything we ordered was so sweet it rendered our taste buds obsolete.