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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.
The eclectic and unpredictable Cairo dining scene can be unforgiving when it comes to value-for-money; while we have plenty of good restaurants across the city, they all come with a rather hefty cheque at the end of your meal. This is a problem at the end of the month, when cash is low – quite often, standards become low, too.
In Maadi, the brains behind Cuba Cabana have opened sister restaurant, I Mix. With a menu of mostly generic international dishes, the first thing you will notice is it is significantly cheaper than its counterparts.
It’s important to note that I Mix is strictly delivery-only – an increasingly common preference for food entrepreneurs in Egypt – and acts as a cheaper alternative to its sister restaurants.
Of the seemingly rudimentary options, we opted for a Caesar Salad (18.99LE), as well as a Waldorf Salad (18.99LE), alongside or Beef Escalope (39.99LE) and Chicken Pane (32.99LE) and a side of French Fries (8.99LE).
The delivery time was decent and our food arrived satisfyingly hot.
The salads came in round plastic boxes with the dressing packaged separately. The Caesar Salad was the usual lettuce and croutons affair, but with the addition of olives, which overpowered everything, including the already scarce lettuce.
Unfortunately, the Waldorf Salad wasn’t much better. With lettuce, watercress, apples, pineapples, cherry tomatoes, raisins and walnuts, we opted to try one of the restaurant’s vinaigrettes – what came was a strange dressing of ketchup and mayonnaise which didn’t compliment the salad at all. Without the dressing the salad was far too sweet.
So, the salads were a bit of disappointment, but, thankfully, the mains fared relatively better.
The Beef Escalope was cooked well, though unremarkable in taste, while the pasta-with-red-sauce side suffered from a flat sauce despite the use of oregano.
Coming with tasty white basmati rice, sautéed vegetables – including fresh mushrooms seared in butter – and a creamy lemon sauce, the Chicken Pane was a surprising hit. The chicken itself was well-cooked, well-fried – retaining a pleasing crunch – and packed plenty of flavour. On top of that, the portion was ample, especially considering its more than reasonable price.
While the food at I-Mix is unlikely to wow, it’ll definitely impress you in terms of buck-for-bang – keep the number on speed dial for when your wallet is thin.