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6th of October City, Cairo, Egypt.
Casper & Gambini's: Another Memorable Branch in Mall of Arabia
Whether Casper & Gambini’s goes east or west, whether it opens a new branch or just a home delivery outlet, it never fails to attract us every time we come across it; somewhat like a magnet drawing us in. And this is not due to a lack of places to go to; we were sold from our very first visit to its City Stars branch.
Although Casper & Gambini’s Mall of Arabia branch was visited a while ago, our reviewer was unlucky and the experience wasn’t enjoyable, but since our visits are all about luck, we thought it was time we tried ours again.
Near to Entrance 2 of the mall, the restaurant has two seating areas; one outdoor area where there’s a water fountain, and another indoor section with its entrance on the side of the shops. Both parts are pleasant but if you’re a true appreciator of relaxation, then the outdoor area will more likely appeal to you.
To start we ordered the chicken Caesar salad (45LE). It was served to us in a big, deep bowl that seemed much like a sphere cut in half. The lettuce was fresh; the salad dressing in the perfect amount, where it wasn’t too much or too little; and the chicken was lovely and tender, however there could have been a bit more of it.
We also tried the chicken pesto pasta (56LE), our waiter warned us that the pesto sauce is green and therefore so will be the colour of our pasta, which caused us to hesitate for a moment, but in the end we decided to give it a try and we weren’t disappointed. The pasta was rich and tasty; the sauce was a little on the heavy side, which made us drink a lot of water after it, but the chicken was well cooked. The club sandwich (45LE) we also ordered was a typical club sandwich, but you are given the option whether to have both halves with the same fillings or different. The sandwich is served with French fries that come in a white cup with the restaurant’s logo on it.
After finishing eating we ordered a caramel latte (22LE), cappuccino (19LE) and lemon-mint iced drink (18LE). Overall the drinks were good but the one that stood out by far was the lemon-mint with its bright yellow and green colours swirled within the crushed ice. Although it was quite large, it was so enjoyable that we managed to finish it all.
A large bottle of water at Casper & Gambini’s is for 13LE, a small one for 8LE and a can of Pepsi for 10LE. Unlike our passed review, the service this time was fast and efficient; giving us the right amount of attention.
As of recently Casper & Gambini’s also offers ‘The Chocolate Bar’, that is a very tempting selection of Belgian truffles one can personally choose via The Giftery website.
Dining in Cairo is as unpredictable as anything else in the city and a visit to an old favourite is always a pleasure; but with recent mixed reviews of Crave, we had to put suspicions to rest and find out how it racks up against our first review.
Crave’s Maadi branch is more spacious than the one in Zamalek and is, unanimously, thought of as having and overall better atmosphere. The restaurant was as clean as we remember it, and our favourite decoration item remains the light hangings decorated with cutlery over the tables.
Upon entrance we were greeted at the door by a friendly waiter who leads you to a table of your preference in either the smoking or non-smoking section. The menus are laid out on the table, and the waiter retreats unless you have any questions.
Among our favourite dishes at Crave were the Zombie Burger with Mushroom and Cheese (48.95LE), the Beef Teriyaki (86.95LE) and the Shrimp Konafa. We wanted to check on the rest of the appetisers as well so instead we opted for a Combo Platter (68.90LE) and substituted the Fish Fingers for Shrimp Konafa.
Arriving around thirty minutes later, the Combo Platter featured fried mozzarella sticks, stuffed mushrooms, chicken strips and shrimp konafa; surprisingly, the oil was drained particularly well as nothing felt greasy, though the mozzarella was average and lacked flavour and the chicken strips were a little on the dry side. The stuffed mushrooms, on the other hand, were cooked and seasoned well, while the shrimp konafa was exactly how we remember it — delicious and fresh.
The main courses arrived shortly after. A good rule of thumb we employ when ordering steak is, who asked for the cooking? If they ask you, you’re probably safe, but if you have to mention that you want your steak cooked medium, you’re probably going to be served well done. Thankfully, at Crave, they asked, we said medium and that’s what we were served.
The Beef Teriyaki was perfectly cooked, beautifully seasoned and an absolute pleasure to munch down. While a little scarce, the glass noodles that are served with the dish were similarly tasty, but clumped together a little more than it should.
The Zombie Burger, sadly, didn't quite match-up. While the patty itself was flavourful and seasoned well, it was really overcooked - to the extent that parts of the inside were almost black. Otherwise, the burger was very well put together, decently sized, and had a very good bread to patty to toppings ratio.
Crave’s prices are slightly expensive for their portions in comparison to other restaurants, but they do serve much better food - especially in the steak department. Crave's popularity is understandable, but closer attention to the small things could make what is a good restaurant into a great one.