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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.
While malls in Cairo aren’t exactly the most desirable locations to dine, a continuing influx of top restaurants have found homes in the likes of Heliopolis’ Citystars – where we paid a visit to Baltazar.
Overlooking the cinema on the ground floor, with neighbours including Mori Sushi, Tamara and Gaby’s, Baltazar stands out with its quirky aesthetic and design. The interior retains a level of casual sophistication, though, with areas of black and white chequered patterns breaking up the light-coloured wood flooring. We took our seats in the restaurant’s second floor, which was designed to look like a balcony overseeing passersby.
We kicked things off with an interesting appetiser, the Baltazar Fried Balls (30LE), and for our mains, we went for some Wild Beef Fillet served with Penne Foie Gras Pasta (175LE) and Beef Fillet served with French fries, mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce (130LE).
Comprised of five balls of fried mashed potatoes stuffed with cheese, Baltazar’s fried balls had a crispy exterior with a delightful soft gooey mixture of potatoes and cheese; a good start to our evening.
Moving onwards to our mains – which took some time to arrive — we started with the wild beef fillet. Cooked well-done, the beef was somewhat dry with a brown sauce compensating the dryness and some tasty grilled mushrooms and herbs which was a great change of pace. The standout of the dish, however, was the penne foie gras pasta, which had a distinct savoury and smooth taste, with a hint of salt that wrapped the whole plate together.
Though it was ordered well-done, the Beef Fillet, was cooked medium-well and even after it was sent back to the kitchen, it was still a little under-cooked and lacked juiciness. The mashed potatoes serving, on the other hand, had a savoury and smooth taste and the French fries stood out with a good crunch and great seasoning.
We washed our meals away with some refreshing black lemonade pitcher (24LE), which came in a quirky large wooden box filled with ice that took a large space from the table.
We wrapped up the evening with Chocolate Nutella Cake (40LE) which was infused with chocolate fondant, pecans and Nutella at the bottom and tasted delicious; only it came in a small bucket which made scraping off the melted cake areas on the sides a little more challenging than it should be.
In closing, our visit to Baltazar was quite satisfying with the quality of food that we were served, but it didn’t come without fault, given the small portions when compared to the steep prices. Minor missteps asides, this is one of the better restaurants at Citystars.