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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.
If you look closely behind Cairo’s noisy and busy brovardo, you’re likely to find a multitude of hidden gems, even in the most unlikely of places. Unexposed amongst the endless, beautiful embassy buildings in Garden city, Kakao Chocolate Lounge sits modestly on the quiet El Zaeem El Hendy Ghandy Street. The front of the shop-come-café isn’t particularly unusual or inspiring, but its neutral, slightly old-fashioned tones are both humble and unassuming with imaginative window displays to indicate the art of customised cake making.
We were greeted by the owner and curator herself who proceeded to excitedly show us her vast collection of homemade chocolates and other sweet treats. Set out like an old fashioned sweet shop, glass cabinets displayed trays of different flavoured chocolates (350LE/kg), racks of cake pops (7LE) and freshly made, delicious macaroons (210LE/kg), whilst jars on the back shelf held interesting tasting cocoa covered marshmallows, nuts and marzipan.
We purchased a ready-made box of eight delectable, rich and flavourful chocolates (50LE). Unfortunately, no menu comes with the ready-packed chocolates, so unless you check in advance, there may be a few not-so-nice surprises if you’re picky about the flavour of your chocolate. However, we would highly recommend the unusual looking white and blue marbled ‘crispy’ chocolates, with chunks of creamy milk chocolate and short-bread biscuit, accompanied with the divine soft-centred chocolate truffles.
Attractive velvet boxes in the shape of a tarboosh are priced from 25LE-90LE and can be filled with a selection of any of their sugary creations for an extra cost. A massive box of 88 chocolates was priced at 420LE.
We spotted a selection of attractive chocolate and cheese cakes, perfect for any occasion, which could serve around eight people, and were priced at a reasonable 120LE. Customised cakes are baked and decorated by the owner herself and can be ready in around two days. We were shown a collection of photographs of pervious cakes from birthdays to bachelorettes and baby showers, and we can safely say, they were some of the most imaginative and well-executed designs we’ve ever seen. A design can either be copied, or a new one can be made by combining both the customer's and the owner’s imagination. The cakes were not only your typical sweet creations; unique and unusual fruit or savoury meat, cheese and sandwich platters can be put together for a fun and inventive centrepiece.
Although most of the attention lands on the chocolate side of things, Kakao doubles up as a café and offers a small, but adequate, menu of hot (10LE-15LE) and cold drinks (4LE-8LE), fresh juices (15LE) and a small selection of snacks; sandwiches (12LE-22LE), crepes (18LE-22LE), fondue for either one or two people (25LE/40LE) and a number of croissants and pastries (7LE-9LE). We ordered one dirt-cake (20LE); a terracotta pot filled with chocolate mousse and topped with chocolate shavings and a decorative flower. The chocolate mousse was both airy and creamy, and fared well with others we've tasted around the city.
Specialising in both creative customised cakes and an almost endless choice of palatable chocolate flavours, we’d recommend Kakao Chocolate Lounge as a quiet and friendly place to go in order to indulge your sweet tooth.