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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Saladero: Popular Salad Specialist Makes its Way to Maadi's Road 9
It's almost become a cliché, but Cairo has embraced what many thought would be a fleeting fad – healthy eating. But the trend continues to grow and engulf non-believers, with the several salad specialists that picked up on it at the start continue to grow and expand in and around the city's restaurant scene.
Eating as much as food as we do – it's a hard life, but someone's got to do it – we're susceptible to food-based guilt and have often found solace in the many salad places in Egypt's capital, the latest of which is Saladero's newest branch. Located on Maadi's Road 9, Saladero's popularity is owed to the endless customisation one can take pleasure in with the restaurant's salad bar.
As a venue, Saladero is quite small, housing just two tables inside and four more outside – but then take-out or deliver is always a safe option. The trouble is in choosing; aside from the endless salad options, Saladero also offers some mighty fine sounding sandwiches and wraps, which is where we began this healthy culinary adventure.
We ordered the Buffalo Chicken Wrap (22LE), which is comprised of spicy grilled chicken, carrots, broccoli and, most interestingly, blue cheese. While the chicken itself was cooked and seasoned well, there was little-to-no cheese, nor were there any carrots, leaving the wrap a little plain and one-not. We were equally irked by the Chicken Parmigiano sandwich (22LE), which should have brought together crispy baked chicken, mozzarella cheese, roast beef and low-fat mayonnaise. Unfortunately, there was no mozzarella; instead, cheddar was used which added to strong a flavour to an already busy sandwich that would have been perfect with the more subtle mozzarella.
Hoping for a better experience with the salad bar, we went for a big bowl (23LE), which affords you one salad base – iceberg lettuce, arugula, spinach or pasta – unlimited vegetables and one dressing. The vegetables on offer are as you'd expect, so the real makers or breakers in the equation are the base and the sauce. We chose a base of pasta and a honey mustard dressing and went onto add premium ingredients; mushrooms (5LE), roast beef (10LE), sweetcorn (5LE) and cheddar cheese (15LE).
It's difficult to really adjudge anything more, because it's all in your hands – you decide your own fate, so choose wisely, although what we can say with confidence is that all the ingredients were fresh, despite what the gloomy looking bar would suggest, though the there was more mustard than honey in the honey mustard dressing.
To wash it all down we were left with few options when it came to the juices on the menu, though we were pleased with the lemon and mint juice (17LE). Said mint is grown by the restaurant itself in pots that initially look like they serve no other function than to make the place look pretty, so to speak. The freshness of the mint gave the drink a pleasing pop.
Overall, there's little you can ask of a restaurant like Saladero above and beyond choices and freshness; at the time of our visit, everything was fresh and light, though the missing ingredients did pull down what could have been perfect healthy bites.