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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.
If there’s one thing that the Cairo restaurant scene is good for, it’s the wide variety of options, suitable for just about every taste and wallet size. Known for its big menu and bigger portions, Spectra continues to be a popular franchise in the city, despite all odds. Their newest branch sits on Mohamed Mazhar Street in Zamalek; decidedly indistinct, this branch fashions the familiar cosy, chalet-style decor, homely artwork and low lighting.
As with each of its counterparts, the mammoth menus offer a vast variety of international appetisers (14.99LE-74.99LE), soups (6.99E-12.99LE), salads (13.99LE-39.99LE), combination platters (68.99LE-279LE), pastas (16.99LE-49.99LE), burgers (24.99LE-44.99LE), risottos (19.50LE-44.50LE) and sandwiches (14.99LE-39.99LE), along with chicken, veal, beef and seafood mains (39.99L-99.99LE). There’s also a separate menu dedicated to juices, cocktails, smoothies and hot drinks (4.99LE-16.99LE) as well as desserts (8.99LE-29.90LE).
For our starters, we opted to share a platter of mini burgers (29.99LE), before moving on to a tuna nicoise salad (26.99LE) and grilled chicken (39.99LE) with penne bolognaise on the side. For drinks, we chose one, surprisingly fruity and flavourful Spectra cocktail (16.99LE), as well as a cherry temple (8.99LE) - a chilled can of Sprite with a generous addition of sweet cherry syrup.
In a fairly short amount of time, our mini burgers arrived, generously portioned to share between two or three people. Encased in small, soft, sesame seeded buns, the patties were thick, juicy and delicious, with crisp pieces of lettuce held in place with cocktail sticks.
Next, our salad was delivered, and we were far from impressed. Despite being made with crunchy greens and vegetables, the potato-mayonnaise was hard and uncooked, whilst the dollop of oily, fishy tuna was little larger than the size of a teaspoon. After our complaint, the dish was returned with more of the same unpalatable tuna, whilst the potato salad was removed completely.
Adding salt to the wound, our grilled chicken was served swimming in an unrequested – and cold – mushroom sauce. Once again, we sent the dish back to the kitchen, and two plain, quality chicken breasts were hastily redelivered. Although not exceptional, our side of bolognaise was surprisingly pleasant, with the al dente penne pasta rolled in the beef and tomato sauce.
For dessert, we ordered a large slice of strawberry cheesecake (19.99LE) which transpired to be thick and creamy, with a tasty topping of sweet strawberry sauce and canned strawberries. Although the biscuit base was practically non-existent, it managed to satisfy our after-meal sweet cravings.
And so in true Spectra fashion, the meals are hit and miss, generously sized and moderately priced.