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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Grizzly Diner: Burgers at New American Diner in Zamalek
We recently asked what Cairo’s favourite burger joint was, and the responses threw up everything from Fuddruckers and Burger Kitchen to the baladi burgers of Amo Hosny. We were recently very impressed with the burgers at Jobo Sports Bar in El Gouna, so now we’re on the lookout for something as good here in Cairo.
The newly opened Grizzly Diner has filled the gap next to Coffee Shop Company on Zamalek’s Abul Feda Corniche, promising an authentic American diner experience.
Two seating areas are available. The indoor seating is a shiny black space with a decent view of the Nile. The steps to the side of the entrance take you to the slightly larger outdoor area on a lower deck, where the kitchen also is. The decor only really mimics the bright red of a diner in its chairs, although metal plaques featuring the names and badges of American football teams and doo-wop music coming through the speakers add a little atmosphere.
The cuisine at Grizzly Diner includes burgers, steak, pasta and chicken. The combo platter (34.99LE) consists of mozzarella sticks, mushrooms onion rings and chicken wing lollipops – all fried. Nothing really stood out, but the serving was generous and would satisfy two or three people.
Two versions of every burger are offered; home-grown and Australian Angus. The menu tells us that the former is made of meat grazed locally, and that the latter is imported prime beef. There’s about a 15LE difference in price, and anyone who has had Australian Angus before won’t mind paying the extra.
Each burger comes with several options for sides. You can choose between variously prepared potatoes (fries, wedges, mashed, skins), a serving of Caesar salad or a small portion of one of the varieties of pasta that the menu offers.
The burgers arrive at your table on a wooden serving paddle, and the generous portion of wedges is served in a small bucket. The mushrooms in the shitaki mushroom burger (44.99LE) were barely discernible, but the meat itself was cooked to a perfect pink inside, and the salad was noticeably fresh. The same applied to the BBQ onion straws burger (44.99LE), though it barely had any of the BBQ sauce that the menu promised. The wedges were chunky, seasoned well and served hot, and the Caesar salad was fresh though its dressing was quite runny.
The obvious choice for afters was the apple pie (24.99LE) – the most American of all desserts. Expecting a slice of sweet golden-crusted pie, we received two squares of a floppy brown goo with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and lines of caramel sauce. The apple was well overcooked and the crust had the consistency of a layer from inside a bowl of om ali.
Milkshakes are offered in a range of different combos at 21.99LE. The cookie dough shake and the rolling stones shake were both more watery than the American versions that they try to imitate, although they’re served in metal tumblers as per American tradition. The rolling stone shake is made of pineapple, banana and coconut. Without getting too scientific about blended fruits, we found that pineapple and banana are generally too different in consistency to go well together.
Zamalek locals can pop by Grizzly Diner in the morning for a pancake breakfast, but the burgers are absolutely where Grizzly can make its mark. Trying so desperately to imitate an American diner, however, may send it off track.
We’ve all had those mornings where you wake up and feel like having a shamelessly gigantic breakfast; one that combines both savoury and sweet flavours and will probably suffice as a collective meal for the whole day.
Grizzly, the Nile-side, All-American diner in Zamalek's CLub 33, is one spot that’s notoriously known for its big portions. It offers seating areas on two floors; an outdoor one downstairs and an indoor one upstairs. Unfortunately, when we arrived, there were no outdoor tables available and so our waiter led us to our table upstairs.
Our menus were immediately laid out before us and we scanned for the breakfast options. For those into egg-based breakfasts, Grizzly offers an array of options (32LE-40 LE), which come with sides of potato wedges and a pancake, croissant or muffin, as well as a complimentary bread basket ). For those in need of a sugar rush, Grizzly also offers pancakes, waffles and crepes (25 LE) with several toppings to choose from, including Peanut Butter and Jelly, Bananas, traditional Maple syrup, Caramel and Blueberries. Craving a sandwich? You can opt for the Grizzly Club (35LE), which boasts layers of fried eggs, cheese, bacon and turkey amongst others.
With a heavy breakfast waiting, you definitely want to go for a drink to wash it down. From Frappes (20LE-22LE) and milkshakes (25LE), to cocktails (22LE), smoothies (27LE) and fresh juices (11LE-17LE), you can take your pick from countless options. The Caramel Frappe, Cookie Dough Shake and the Peach Blend Cocktail were some of the drinks that caught our eyes.
We placed our order, completely oblivious to the fact that we’ll be a couple of years older by the time it arrived. Thirty minutes upon placing it, we reminded our waiter that we were starving and he had our drinks before us in no time. The Caramel Frappe was dense, creamy, and bursting with flavour. The same praise cannot said of the orange juice, however, which came out of a carton.
When our food finally arrived, it certainly looked the part. The Vegetable Omelette (33LE), which arrived with no cheese or sour cream as we had requested, was filled with mushrooms, tomatoes and onions, and the Texas Scramble, which was definitely heavier due to the addition of mixed cheese and beef, was also quite delectable. The bread was some of the heaviest pita bread we’ve ever had; though this is not necassarily a negative for everyone. The potato wedges were, however, a little soggy. Finally, our blueberry muffin was amazingly fresh and our pancake, which we drizzled with maple syrup, was fluffy and delicious.
Our breakfast at Grizzly was everything we wanted it to be; big, filling and sumptuous. The fact that it took a bit too long to arrive, however, left us slightly annoyed.