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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.
The food and beverage industry in Egypt is so big, and continues to get bigger, that some venues often go overlooked - hidden gems ready to be discovered. One such diamond in the rough is Kayan Kitchen & Bakery; a small kiosk selling gourmet sandwiches in front of Shooting Club in Dokki.
A smallish cart embellished by a green carpet, plants on the front; it can be hard at first to believe that such small venue is capable of making such variety of gourmet sandwiches from chicken, beef, turkey and cold cuts—you name it.
We kicked things off with a Kayan Burger (27LE), which came with an impressive amount of Italian flavours. The juicy burger patty was covered in lettuce, diced tomatoes, fresh melted mozzarella, pesto sauce, pickled red onion and Dijon butter, all nestled in a light and fluffy bun with a spot-on crispy exterior. Everything came together perfectly for a genuinely Italian taste.
Looking to try the chicken options, we were initially torn between BBQ Chicken (28LE), Kayan Breaded Chicken (30LE) – both highly recommended by the staff - and Chicken Curry (25LE). We opted for the latter, which came in the form of tender, curry-spiced grilled chicken, mixed with roasted peppers, pickled lemons and yogurt-coriander dressing. Though wrapped in pita rather than traditional Indian naan bread - wishful thinking on our part, maybe - the chicken curry was bursting with flavours with an overpowering pickled lemon flavour. Like the burger, it certainly lived up to its name.
We couldn’t leave Kayan without trying something from the cold cut sandwiches, that’s when we went with famous BLT – (beef) bacon, lettuce and tomato (28LE). Bringing together Dijon butter spread, pickled onion, beef bacon, lettuce and tomatoes and served in Italian white ciabatta bread, everyhting from the bread to the vegetables tasted noticeably fresh, while the Dijon butter spread added an exquisite kick to the overall taste and was a perfect foil for beef bacon.
Dessert was next up on our visit, but, unfortunately, they didn't quite hit the bar set by the sandwiches. Opting for Chocolate Donut (7LE) and Cinnamon Roll (7LE), the donut was a little too dense, while the cinnamon roll needed more cinnamon.
Despite the desserts, it's difficult not to be impressed by Kayan. Everything from the friendly staff, to watching food in the making, to then eating it was a delight and, if we're honest, a suprise - never judge a book by its cover, indeed.