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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Gouthé: Pretty Cakes That Lack Taste in Mohandiseen
The last time we visited Gouthé to have dinner in its restaurant we couldn’t help but notice the displays filled with cookies, pastries and pies. After all, you have to walk right through the patisserie if you want to get to the restaurant. Since we have kind of a sweet tooth here at Cairo360 we decided to hop into Gouthé once again, but this time for their pastry department.
Unfortunately this time round the diversity of the cakes and pastries was not that large. Still, not being discouraged we decided to go ahead and order from whatever was available. Though for a while we thought about ordering the delicious looking Feuttine pie, or the Praline walnut pie, or the cheese cake; we decided that less is more and settled on some smaller gateaux instead. In case you do want to purchase a cake, most of them are priced between 135LE and 150LE, and feed up to eight people. The best thing about Gouthé is probably that all the full-sized cakes they have are also available in mini versions, and for a kilo of cute mini gateaux you will pay 110LE.
From an aesthetic point of view all the pastries look very nice and appealing. Take the lemon tart (9LE) for instance. The round cake comes with charming looking lemons that resemble balls, placed on top of a bed of pudding. As excited as were looking at it, we were very disappointed with its taste. Not only did the little balls look like lemons, they tasted too much like them as well. We couldn’t help but pull a funny face after taking a bite. The tart was simply too sour and the pudding wasn’t sweet enough to make up for it. The strawberry pineapple cake (13LE) was once again a pleasure to the eye but had a very specific aftertaste. For something containing so much fruit we had expected the gateaux to be lighter; however the strawberry mousse was delicious.
We also opted for a super simple chocolate éclair (9LE). The éclair came richly filled with chocolate mousse, the dough was a bit stale though so it was probably for the best that there was so much filling to make up for that set back. The piece we were least disappointed by in the end was the raspberry and white chocolate sphere (13LE). However the white chocolate to raspberry ratio was a bit lost; it would have fared better with less white chocolate and more raspberries.
Although the pastry at Gouthé looks very nice, the flavours were not up to par and so perhaps it is more suggestible to stick with the savoury food of the restaurant instead.
Always on the lookout for unique culinary offerings on the Cairo dining scene, we were a bit taken aback to find what we hear is possibly Egypt's sole server of authentic Brazilian cuisine. With visions of sizzling Brazilian barbecue, feasts of cassava, yams and peanuts, chourico sausage and rich salgadinhos cheese bread; we approached the dimly lit store front of Amelia's Kitchen located on Maadi's Road 233 in the Degla neighbourhood.
Although the black and white 'open' sign hangs constantly in the glass wall shop front, the lack of bright lights and customers make this eatery more inconspicuous than ever.
The interior of the restaurant feels more like a home-style kitchen with a few wire backed chairs, linoleum floors and an open stove. Two fridges flank the entranceway, one offering cans of soda; while the other hosts shelves of wrapped lasagne, pastries and tortes encased in layers of cellophane. Such features lend distinct meaning to home dining; the low brow decor will leave you feeling as if you've literally strolled into your neighbour's kitchen.
The restaurant's ambiance does not entirely encourage a long and relaxed stay inside. As the owner herself proclaims; this is not so much a restaurant as it is a place to peruse the selection of dishes; order items to be cooked, and then take them home to your own kitchen.
The kitchen caters to customers' take-away orders; so patrons can enjoy a taste of Brazil in their own homes. Along with lasagne, which is one of the kitchen's highest selling items; you can walk away with select finger foods, Brazilian focaccia breads, raviolis and plenty of chicken, shrimp, meats and cheeses that are roasted and sautéed. For lunch appetisers, expect a plethora of pastry rolls with shrimp, cheese and chicken. If you would like to enjoy a single serving of the meat lasagne, the rich multi-layer dish is yours for 40LE. The chicken focaccia (35LE) is a savoury sandwich ensemble, sautéed with sweet and spicy seasonings, and served piping hot.
The kitchen’s sweeter selection includes packages of rich brigadeiro chocolate desserts, the sugary coconut cocadas (selling for 2.50LE a piece, and around 40LE per kilo if you are a fan), caramel tortes, pastries and cakes (25LE upwards) of chocolate, vanilla, banana and carrot; all made to order.
Amelia’s Kitchen has been running for over ten years now, bringing
select Brazilian treats to tables for events and special occasions, as well as
for those days when you aren’t up for cooking yourself.
The eatery also sells much of its home-cooked food frozen and ready to prepare, for those that would like to plan ahead. Most ingredients are local; but you can order select meat dishes of imported Brazilian beef for a taste of the kitchen’s homeland, or the salgadinhos cheese bread made with tapioca flour, which is imported specially and available upon request.