Located on a small road off Heliopolis’ busy El Merghany Street, the Panini House is a small eatery, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo.

The interior is modest, dominated with natural wood-browns. The only available seating is situated outside; five or six chairs share one table in an enclosed, tiled area. The setup‘s appeal is in its simplicity, cleanliness and, naturally, in the football match that just happened to be playing on the TV at the time of our visit.

The Panini House divides its sandwiches into four sections; Chicken House, Meat House, Cold House and Cheese House. In addition, the small shop offers a range of salads and starters including Greek salad (8.50LE small/14.95LE large), tuna pasta salad (11.95LE/20.75LE) and chicken Caesar salad (10.95LE/19.50LE), as well as mozzarella cheese sticks (12LE). The prices of the sandwiches themselves range between 11.95LE and 28.50LE.

Although they aren’t particularly large in size, ordering your Panini as a combo (extra 6LE) affords you a portion of French fries and a soft drink, which add up to a filling meal.

From the salad menu, we opted to try a large chicken Caesar salad, which was excellent. Everything tasted fresh, the chicken-to-lettuce ratio was surprisingly fair and it was dressed, and seasoned, perfectly.

But you don’t come to a place called the Panini House to have a salad. Spoilt for choice, we decided to go for the Philly Wild Steak (23.95LE); strips of grilled steak, mushrooms, lettuce, pickles and Swiss cheese, all topped with ranch dressing. Touted as one of the Panini House’s best concoctions by the staff, the Philly Wild Steak definitely lives up to the hype. The perfectly grilled and seasoned steak combined with the fresh vegetables shows real skill.

Elsewhere on the menu, the Chicken Salami Temptation (25.95LE) was an equally vindicated choice; we’d even dare to say that the chicken was better than the beef. Like said beef, the chicken was grilled nicely and the whole sandwich packed a punch courtesy of the slices of salami. The real surprise, however, are the Panini House’s fries; crispy, thin-cut and seasoned perfectly, with a rather delightful cocktail sauce to boot.

The only slight on what was otherwise a very pleasing meal was the downtime between ordering our food and receiving it. Despite that, the sole staff member– who informed us that his usual aide was off sick – was incredibly attentive. His skills in the kitchen more than made up for any inconveniences.