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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.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and we’re not about to argue that – but unless you have the time before work or school to really make something off your first food-intake of the day, you end up going through the motions. Even if you choose to venture out, breakfast menus across Cairo are, more often than not, pretty basic – there’s no such problem with Ben & Florentine’s breakfast menu, though.
The Canadian chain had originally opened in New Cairo and, seemingly, its popularity has lead to the opening of a second branch on Maadi’s ever-changing Road 9.
As a venue, Ben & Florentine is small, housing only five tables overlooking the colourful, busy street. The menu brings together the type of items you would expect of ‘international cuisine’ – think sandwiches, burgers, pastas, pizzas etc. Visiting bright and early(ish), however, our focus was very much on breakfast – a breakfast we’d heard much about and covers almost 3 pages of the menu. The options are plentiful – ranging from simple eggs Benedict, to breakfast combos, to three-egg omelettes.
We kicked off what we were hoping would be a top-notch breakfast with a simple cappuccino (18LE), which was much more bitter than a cappuccino should be – it could have done with a bit more milk. But onto the main event of our breakfast, we ordered the Two Eggs Etc – a reasonably simple dish that comes with toast and beef bacon – the latter of which was, unfortunately, quite dry. What didn’t disappoint, though, was the portion of Ben & Florentine’s famous oven-baked fries, which were cooked perfectly to an outer crunch and an inner softness. Other than that, the eggs themselves were good, if unremarkable – they were cooked well and that’s all you can really ask for from eggs.
We also tried the Three Musketeers crepe (48LE), which pulls together beef sausages, cheddar and mozzarella – as well as more of those fries. This time, however, the fires were hard and dry – a disappointment if there ever was one, when you consider how good the ones with the eggs were. The crepe itself, meanwhile, was simple but delicious, with both the sausages and crepe cooked perfectly.
We sealed our breakfast with Ben & Florentine’s Raspberry Mojito (25LE) – the epitome of refreshing. Using lemonade and raspberry syrup, the real kick was in the fresh lemon and mint garnish, which – because of the basic other ingredients – added a subtle but noticeable dimension to the flavour.
Overall, we left the new branch of Ben & Florentine satisfied; though nothing wowed us, it delivered on its promise – a decent, wholesome breakfast.