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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.
Cairo restaurants and cafes have seen numerous trends over the years and recently, the emergence of fondue has become apparent all over the city. Run by two young entrepreneurs and a team of friendly waiters, the Fondue Pot in Heliopolis celebrates the Swiss dish in all its forms.
Sitting above Mood Restaurant and Lounge on Abdel Moneim Hafez Street, the exterior of the restaurant resembles a Swiss chalet with natural wood accents and traditional windows. The interior is equally as charming; wooden seating, red and white checkered tablecloths and Swiss memorabilia hang from the beams.
Being one of just two groups, the menus arrived quickly, along with an explanation of some of the dishes. The drinks menu includes a long list of fresh juices, mocktails, iced teas, frappes and hot drinks, including a selection of the increasingly popular ‘Nespresso’ coffees. We went for one Geneva mocktail (22LE) – a deliciously fruity, slushy concoction of peach, orange and passionfruit – and an icey Lugano (23LE); a fresh, citrusy, but sweet, mixture of orange, lemon, guava and honey.
The food menu doesn’t limit itself to just your basic cheese fondue, but instead lists numerous, exotic sounding variations of the traditional dish (90LE-140LE), along with salads, raclettes – a traditional Swiss side dish – chicken, meat and sweet dessert fondues. The restaurant works on a DIY and sharing basis; the portions are large and the meats are cooked at the table, by the customer, using their chosen method. Combo meals are also pre-arranged should you be unsure about what to order.
We ordered a 'traditional combo' (450LE), advisably for two people, which included traditional Swiss cheese fondue, a garden green salad, chicken, traditional raclette and milk chocolate fondue. Before long, the cheese fondue arrived, along with a gigantic bowl of bite-sized, yummy toast pieces and a plate of fresh, crunchy broccoli. We were shown how to turn down and turn off the heat of the flaming fondue contraption, in case our fondue began getting too hot. The fondue was both cheesy and creamy, with a béchamel sauce consistency, perfect for coating our dipping pieces. Our side salad was a healthy mix of fresh greens, dressed with a delectable, flavourful vinaigrette.
Unable to finish our course of fondue, it was replaced by an electronic stone plate, heated and coated with oil, ready to cook our chicken on. The generous servings of raw meat were thinly sliced, served with a selection of six tasty sauces and herbs for seasoning. Our passionate waiter demonstrated how to prepare a raclette with new potatoes, pickled onions and strong tasting gherkins in our tiny, square frying pans. We melted the cheese on top by placing our creations under the grill, beneath the hot plate, and although we cooked everything ourselves, the waiter was never too far away should we have required any guidance.
Next, we dipped pieces of ripe banana, green apple, sweet strawberries and soft kiwi in the heavenly, sweet, milk chocolate fondue. The only thing missing from this scrumptious dessert were spoons to help drink the chocolate straight from the pot, even if such a practice isn't etiquette.
The Fondue Pot provides a unique, sociable dining experience, serving up large quantities of quality food in a cosy, friendly setting which wholly justifies the expense.