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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.
When it comes to finger food, wings have always been one of the staples - they’re delicious and absolutely perfect for gatherings. And while finger food the likes of wings can mostly be found only in bars - a la the Tap - and some fast food chains as a side dish, Lord of the Wings is one of the few restaurants in Cairo’s that specialises in it.
Tucked away in one of Cairo Festival City’s hallways leading to the food court, Lord of the Wings' newest branch in Egypt's capital boasts an industrial design, with brick walls, wooden tables, exposed air conditioning vents and thick wires running along the walls, in addition to flat screens displaying occasional football matches or the diner’s menu.
After being shown to our table, we were given the menus, which, other than the wings, also has burgers and steaks.
We started things off with some Canadian Poutine fries (41LE), along with some Super Duper Nachos (49LE) with an addition of bacon (14LE) to give it some extra crunch, as for the main course, we opted for the house specialty Garlic Parmesan Boneless Wings (49LE for 6 pieces), with The American Burger (53LE) and The Tenderloin Steak (145 LE).
After a good half an hour, the Poutine fries arrived and with it all our orders came pouring in.
Served in a large bowl and topped with gravy and melted cheese, the Poutine fries tasted great and had good consistency –though it was drenched in gravy and cheese – while the cheese complimented the overall flavour. The only thing that fell flat was the gravy, which had a bland taste and didn’t add anything to the dish.
With little to no bacon, we had to return the Super Duper Nachos, which then came back with well-balanced amount of bacon bits and cheese, while being served with sour cream, salsa and guacamole. The nachos had a crunch but they had a bland taste which was saved by the melted cheese and the served dips.
Six medium-sized pieces of breaded boneless chicken covered with buffalo sauce, drenched with special garlic parmesan sauce and served with blue cheese sauce and some carrot and cucumber strips, the wings were quite delicious. The chicken itself was tender and tangy with a delightful crunchy crust and a savoury garlic parmesan kick at every bite. It was interesting how the garlic parmesan sauce worked so well with the buffalo sauce, which showcased how much attention was put into the flavours of the dish; overall it was the highlight of our visit.
An Angus patty covered with lettuce, onions, pickles, American cheese and special sauce, the American burger was accompanied by a generous portion of fries; only the burger itself had a chewy consistency and lacked flavours, while the bun had a stale taste as if the whole thing was rushed.The fries, on the hand, were tasty well-seasoned and had a homemade feel.
The tenderloin steak came as two pieces of steak with some sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Though it was ordered well-done, the steak was cooked medium-well which didn’t jeopardize the taste but it wasn’t what we ordered. The vegetables side was okay but the mashed potatoes felt a little rushed with a mediocre taste and some lumps in them.
We washed everything with Peanut Butter Shake (25 LE) which was very refreshing and very sweet – maybe a bit too sweet –with a thick texture and some generous caramel sauce.
In spite of the feeling that we had that some of the items were quite rushed and poorly executed, as far as wings, Lord of the Wings definitely excelled in terms of both quality and flavour.