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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Bread Basket: Fresh Pastries & Bread in Maadi
Located in a distinctively competitive area in Maadi, across from Metro Market and the Parisian-inspired La Gourmandise on Road 9, Bread Basket has still managed to cling to its long held position as a popular provider for Maadi's daily bread and carbohydrate cravings.
Taking up a teeny-tiny space on the 1st floor of a residential building, Bread Basket efficiently manages to make the most of the little space it has.
At the counter they display all their sweets and treats, which include such favourites as Danish pastries and brownies; both moderately priced at 5LE. Although the menu claims they serve a large selection of morning pastries – including a raisin Danish, an apple Danish and a chocolate Danish – only the pudding Danish was available when we visited. The pudding Danish was perfectly sweetened with a perfect pudding-to-bread ratio, making the pastry enjoyable and easy to eat.
At 2LE-3LE cheaper than the gateaux at The Bakery Shop, they make a good option if you want to buy morning pastries in large numbers. Even after the filling pudding Danish, we decided that an additional sugar fix couldn't hurt and went for a brownie. The brownies are sold in individually wrapped pieces and were chocolaty with a distinct butter taste. However, it was not as rich or moist as you would expect; it tasted only slightly better than store bought ones, which was disappointing.
Behind the counter are shelves reserved for the baked bread, which comes in a multitude of varieties including grain baguette (31LE), multigrain loaf (20LE), raisin bread (14.50LE), sesame rolls (1.25LE) and cheese rolls (2.50LE). However, despite having over 20 different kinds of bread listed on their menu, only about six were available that day.
We tried the brown multigrain bread, which was coated with a sprinkle of grains. Crunchy on the outside and very moist and soft on the inside, it hit the spot. However, since this bread does not come in the pre-packaged plastic sleeves that keep it fresh, make sure you have a place to store your bread or you risk it becoming stale before you have even finished.
Shopping at Bread Basket is an experience; the bakery is cosy and smells wonderful. But the selections are limited and if you don't come early then it's likely they will be out of some of the more popular staples by noon.
Bakeries are in no short supply around Cairo and while roaming the streets of Heliopolis, we came across a city favourite - Dukes. With its slick black and white facade and reputation for delicious dirt cakes, it was time to drop in and see how the years have treated this venue.
Upon entry, we found a large glass display of colourful selection of gateaux, dirt cakes, tarts, macaroons and giant cupcakes. Additionally, Dukes also serves soups, salads, sandwiches, vegetable casseroles, pasta and main courses, alongside bread, mini pizzas and other baked goodies.
After much contemplation, we opted for the Black Forest Gateaux (15LE), Chocolate Dirt Cake (25LE), Charlotte Gateaux (15LE), and a Mini Smoked Salmon Cake (12LE). The only table at the venue was occupied, so we took our orders to go.
The Mini Smoked Salmon Cakes were pretty simple and was layered in thin white bread with salmon paste in between, and covered entirely with smoked salmon slices. While the portion was tiny in comparison to its price, the fresh salmon and surprisingly flavourful salmon paste wa quite a treat.
The Black Forest, a rectangular cake with multiple layers of chocolate topped with whipped cream, had a satisfying amount of chocolate, but the excessive cream overpowered everything and made things quite messy. We recommend the Chocolate Dirt Cake to true chocoholics instead. The combination of moist chocolate and thin layered cake was the highlight; we only wish the decorative flowers on top were edible as well.
The Charlotte Chateaux, meanwhile, was a fruity masterpiece, consisting of a creamy cheesecake filling, topped with slices of strawberries, and engulfed in a pink sugar icing that holds it all together. The flavours complement each other perfectly into a delicious piece of gateaux.
Unable to try anything else in fear of a sugar coma, we stopped there. Dukes is definitely one of the top patisseries in town thanks to its huge andcreative menu; it’s a shame there isn’t any space to enjoy the food there, though.