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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Del Vento: Quick-Stop Italian in Nasr City's Genena Mall
If you’re familiar with malls’ food courts during or around lunch time, then you probably have an idea of how crowded they can get. Luckily, you seldom become involved in a chair hunt at the new food court in Genena Mall; which provides a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the mall to choose a meal from the handful of fast food vendors. One of these choices is the Italian restaurant Del Vento.
Though Del Vento’s menu is as predictable as the next Italian restaurant - packed with sandwiches and salads, pizzas, and pastas - they are a little more diverse when it comes to the desserts and drinks section. Fruit smoothies (14LE), frappes (16LE) and hot drinks make Del Vento as much a quick–stop café as a restaurant.
In a dark wood and olive coloured interior, ordering at Del Vento was simple and fast. The food was neatly packed, though it might be worth to note that their paper bags don’t hold up that well for take-outs. For an original Del Vento experience, we opted for their signature mini pizza (12LE) along with the fried calamari starter (12LE) and a chicken mozzarella Panini (17LE). Though the toppings of the mysterious Del Vento pizza weren’t clarified on the menu, it turns out that it’s mainly tomato sauce and cheese with hotdog slices and it tasted delicious enough to make it the restaurant’s special.
The fried calamari, however, lacked a bit of taste despite having a rather strong aroma. Be careful as it comes with extra hot dipping sauce. The Panini was really the highlight of the meal, which came with a small portion of French fries, though the chicken was a bit too ordinary to be noticed and, like the calamari, required adding salt and pepper.
Their food might need a little tweaking here and there but at least the pizza was good. Take another look at the menu after your meal because Del Vento proves promising with its many dessert choices; from blueberry cheesecake (16LE) to Nutella and banana crepe (13LE) and a choice of milkshakes. It’s probably safe to say that if there was to be a next visit to Del Vento, it would just be for their desserts.
Italian restaurants in Cairo often fall victim to the Americanisation of the dish; the original recipe calls for a thin spread of dough and a fine layer of mozzarella cheese, and most who claim to mirror this authenticity often simply don’t.
As pizza tradition dictates, Crust Pizzeria provides delivery, although nothing beats the experience of dining at the restaurant itself. The decor is casually chic, with an interesting seating variety; aside from the solid oak tables with matching padded seats, there’s also an outdoors area to eat in the sunshine on picnic tables and benches.
Those that bring their children along and treat them to a serving of bunny shaped pizza (26LE) or mini spaghetti (24LE) will be glad to know there’s a playground to let off their hyperactivity, especially if they’ve been given a taste of the sugar rush inducing Nutella calzone (23LE).
The service is hasty without sacrificing quality; at a relatively quiet time, the staff can serve up your order in around twenty minutes.
We particularly enjoyed their arugula salad (31LE), which sees caramelised onions, feta cheese and candied walnuts accompanying the fresh leafy greens. While the inclusion of both walnuts and onions may lead one to assume that the salad would be sweet, the salad is seasoned perfectly to balance, especially with the flavour combinations of the cubes of lightly salted feta cheese and the zesty vinaigrette.
Crust proudly distinguishes themselves from other pizzerias through their use of a wood fired grill. Lack of exposure to the scorching temperatures of a gas born flame saves the dough from developing a hard consistency. Combined with a fine choice in mozzarella cheese, not only do the pizzas taste delicious, but they have a distinguished texture too. It came as no surprise that the seafood pizza (45LE), topped with prawns, calamari and a special plum tomato sauce, boasts a fabulous flavour of the sea.
We also enjoyed a Blanco (36LE) from their special pizzas section; a three cheese blend along with more arugula and caramelised onion, smothered with pesto and tomato sauces. While it was a little on the salty side in comparison with the seafood pizza the toppings and creative combinations meshed together to provide a delicious combination.
Crust provides deliciously authentic, Italian tasting pizza with generous portion sizes, making it a contender in the always hotly-contested perennial ‘best pizza in Cairo’ arguments we have so often in our office.