Cairo Cafés Guide - Cafés reviews in Egypt

Cairo Cafés

Joe's Chocolate Bar: Small Menu, Big Flavours at Zamalek Chocolate Specialist
Published On: 13/11/2016

With Brew & Chew satisfying the cravings of Maadi residents, and Dip n Dip spreading their fantastic desserts in New Cairo, Nasr City and 6 of October City, the sweet-toothed of Zamalek can be forgiven for feeling a little neglected – that is until now. Chocolate by name, chocolaty by nature, Joe's Chocolate Bar on Taha Hussein Street could be the answer to every chocaholic's dreams. As a venue, Joe's Chocolate Bar is divided into two floors; the top floor has nothing remarkable about it but allows smoking, while the ground floor is where the 'chocolate is. Besides the melted chocolate-like decoration on the wall (which is installed upside down, so instead looks like chocolate waves) the calm lighting and wood walls create a relaxing and cosy ambiance to the place. The items on the menu are limited and nothing grabbed our attention, but we opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake (47LE), Triple Chocolate Crepe (41LE) and their new special item – as the waiter was so keen to mention – Oreo Waffle (49LE). The molten chocolate cake had a bold chocolate flavour and a very moist texture; the gooey centre had a fantastic pudding-like consistency, which shows that it was cooked to perfection and, overall, the dessert had a spot-on sweetness. On the other hand, we would have preferred that the ice cream was served separately, because the hot temperature of cake melted it quickly and made the top of the cake rather soggy. The triple chocolate crepe was just as good, meanwhile; coming as three thin, light and fluffy triangular servings, each one was filled with a generous amount of melted milk chocolate, and drizzled with white, milk, and dark chocolate. We also asked for fruit (10LE) on the side which consists of mini cubes of kiwi, bananas, and strawberries, and it was surprisingly fresh even though it's not strawberry season yet. As for the Oreo waffle, we expected nothing more than a waffle with crushed Oreo on top, but, impressively, the waffle itself had an actual layer of Oreo in the middle. Despite the waffles needing a little more milk chocolate on top and being a bit chewy, they were largely soft with a slightly crispy exterior, and the flavour of the Oreo popped in every single bite. Joe's Chocolate Bar definitely impressed with their well-executed desserts and big flavours, but we felt that the variety on the menu is too safe and a bit limited for a dessert specialist. We'd very happily come back for the molten chocolate cake, though.

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Brew & Chew: A Consistent Contender for Best Dessert Place in Cairo
Published On: 08/11/2016

The food scene in Alexandria might seem a bit behind that of Cairo, but there have always been some hidden gems in the seaside city like Holmes and Alban Swissra – places Cairenes wish would open in the capital. But the biggest tease over the years would have to be dessert specialist, Brew & Chew, which opened its first branch in Cairo last March. Located inside The Courtyard in Maadi, Brew & Chew's interior is very busy on the eye, starting from the triangular mirrors on the ceiling, the mirror above the pickup bar and the use of traditional panelled walls next to grey brick walls, to the huge sign of Brew & Chew and the wall of artificial IKEA plants. If it's a little too much on the eye, you can escape to the outdoor area which overlooks Courtyard's mini-stage - plus the weather is usually nice. Before we get to the sweets, we ordered the New York Steak (130LE) with peanut butter sauce (15LE) - but only because chocolate sauce wasn't available at the time of our visit. Served with fries and mashed potatoes and topped with perfectly seasoned gravy, the steak was cooked medium-well, but came dry and tough. The peanut butter sauce, meanwhile, was creamy with a thick consistency similar to béchamel, and had mini bits of peanut in it. It's an interesting concept, but flavour-wise, it didn't quite work, while its consistency did little to help the dryness of the steak. After wondering what to pick from the endless variety of desserts, we ordered the Melting Chocolate Field (58LE), Nutella Peanut Butter Molten Cake (48LE) and Fried Banana (34LE). The waiter noted that desserts take some time to make because everything is served as fresh as possible - and we had no problem waiting. The Melting Chocolate Field consists of Belgian chocolate topped with a giant cakey-yet-chewy textured chocolate chip cookie, a scoop of vanilla ice cream to lighten things up and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Once you start digging into the dish, you won't be able to stop and using a jar filled with liquid nitrogen in the presentation was really fun. As for the Nutella peanut butter molten cake, which was also served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the cake itself was very moist and chocolaty, while the centre had a bold peanut butter flavour that will please every PB fan. But it overshadowed the Nutella flavour and the dessert as a whole just needed gooier filling. Served in a cocktail glass, meanwhile, the three huge pieces of fried banana are coated with a cinnamon-infused batter that creates a scrumptious sugary crust then drizzled with caramel sauce. Coming with yet more vanilla ice cream, the diversity of textures in this one was great and the flavours were a perfect match. While the savoury menu has some interesting items, Brew & Chew's desserts will always be top dog; there's an amusement factor with the way the desserts are put together and it all adds to a fun ambiance that's perfect sharing with friends. In this reviewer's opinion, Brew & Chew makes the best desserts in town.

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L'Eclair Paris: The Best Choux Pastry in Cairo?
Published On: 06/11/2016

In the past few years, Cairo has witnessed the rise of many local brands in many fields including food and beverages. One of these brands is L'éclair Paris, which started off as a cart in Downtown Mall in New Cairo with a limited amount of éclair choices. The enterprise proved to be such a huge success that, in a matter of a year, L'éclair Paris conquered various areas around Cairo with branches in Maadi, Mohandiseen and Mall of Arabia, to name but a few. We decided to visit the latter to see how L'éclair Paris has fared since our last visit to the Maadi branch. Located inside the 6th October City Mall next to Galaxy Cineplex cinema, the square-shaped booth comprises three displays; two of them for the éclairs and other pastries, while the other has ice cream. Since our main interest was the éclairs, we headed to the display which boasts a variety of flavours, from which we opted for the renowned red velvet éclair (18LE) and an all-time classic, chocolate éclair (16LE). Unable to resist the temptation of trying one or two desserts from the other display, we ordered a Nutella Tart (19LE) and a bowl of tiramisu (14LE). The first thing we tried was the chocolate éclair; despite the noticeably fresh choux dough, both of the chocolate cream filling and topping were bland and not as sweet as we expected. On the other hand, the red velvet éclair fared better with its sweet, rich cream filling, however, the glaze topping had an unpleasant artificial strawberry flavour. Disappointed when considering our previous review for L'éclair Paris, the Nutella tart had the same problem the chocolate éclair had; the base of the tart was outstandingly crunchy, tasty and fresh, yet the topping was bland. Formed of a layer of chocolate cream and a criss-crossed chocolate drizzle, the topping had no taste of Nutella at all. The imperfections of what we have tried so far made us doubt the tiramisu as well, but it turned out to be the highlight of our visit. The tiramisu had the perfect balance between the rich cream and the cake in the centre. Obviously, this was not the happiest of our visits to L'éclair Paris. Though the base of every dessert we tried was fresh and tasty, something went wrong with the filling and topping, whose quality is crucial for offering the perfect dessert. 

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Frozzy Twist: 'Basbousa Ice Cream Rolls' & Other Frozen Treats in Mohandiseen
Published On: 25/10/2016

Having introduced the Thai style ice cream rolls to Cairo in 2014, Frozzy Twist opened their very first branch at Nasr City was huge success. Just like cupcakes, waffles and crepes, it was no surprise that the concept went on to be copied by so many without adding anything different. Two years on, Frozzy Twist has opened a Mohandiseen branch on Ahmed Oraby Street – and it was very impressive at the time of our visit. Unlike their usual dark coloured interior, this branch is actually very cheerful, using light pink, green, blue and yellow bricks on the walls, as well as lighting that brings out all of these colours. From milkshakes and molten chocolate cakes, to cheesecake and endless ice cream roll flavours, the variety has definitely got bigger since our last visit. However, we kept it simple by ordering a medium sized cashew ice cream roll (20LE). Starting with the cashew, the ice cream attendant (what do you call these guys?) poured some of the ice cream mixture on a freezing cold surface with a handful of salted cashew, which he then smashed using some kind of a trowel until it formed a very thin rectangle-shaped layer. He then slid the trowel from the beginning to the end to form small ice cream rolls. The sweetness of the ice cream mixture was spot-on and the cashew was perfectly distributed, which ensured the presence of its salty and nutty flavours in almost every single spoon. However, the texture was a bit dense which made it hard to eat with the plastic spoons provided – so much so that we broke two spoons. We also tried a medium-sized Basbousa ice cream roll (13LE) – yes, basbousa ice cream is a thing. The ice cream and basbousa were merged to create a fantastic chewy, stickycombo, full of mini bits of basbousa. It's like you're almost eating cold basbousa with cream, but we have to say that it was a little bit too sweet. Even though we believe that nothing can beat a simple, classic scoop of ice cream, the best word to describe our visit to Frozzy Twist is 'fun'. With friendly staff, a great variety of desserts and a cheerful interior, we can easily say that this is their best branch yet!

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Fifth Street Coffee: Delicious Baked Goods at Cairo Festival City
Published On: 24/10/2016

Besides being among the biggest malls in the city, Cairo Festival City boasts a vast outdoor dining area with over 45 restaurants and cafés that cater to every taste. One of the latest additions to its long list of places is Fifth Street Coffee, which offers a varied selection of drinks, sandwiches and baked goods. Located next to Ila Café, the modern-looking venue is walled with gray tiles and furnished in simple wooden chairs and tables. Minutes after being seated in the outdoor area, we were given the simply-designed menu, which is made out of an HDF plaque with the pages strapped to it from top. Along with the aforementioned items, Fifth Street Coffee has a number of breakfast options, from which we opted for the 'French Style' (39LE) and another called 'The Real Thing' (78LE). Consisting of a hot drink of your choice, croissant and a breadbasket with jam and butter, we highly recommend the French Style breakfast as an option for those who want to enjoy their coffee with a light snack to munch on. We enjoyed their cappuccino – which came in a satisfyingly tall mug – and an Emmental-cheese croissant, which was fresh, fluffy and plentiful in cheese. Served in a rectangular wooden basket with butter and Jam, the sliced multigrain bread was equally fresh, yet the scant portions of jam and butter hindered us from enjoying it to the full. Not as scarce, 'The Real Thing' breakfast has the same content of the first order, but with an Omelette and your choice of French toast or pancakes. The plain croissant was just as fresh as that the one with cheese, while the omelette – to which we added mushrooms and cheese – was all in all quite scrumptious; however, the generous amount of cheese hidden through the folded omelette had its drawbacks: it made the omelette greasy. It was an easy flaw to turn a blind eye to, but what we really couldn't ignore was how bland the pancakes tasted. Despite being topped and layered with Nutella, it didn't taste as promising as it looked. But apart from these little flaws, we still believe that Fifth Street Coffee has enough to make regulars out of us, thanks to the friendly and efficient service, the fresh baked goods and the coffee. 

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Gelati Azza: Keeping Ice-Cream Simple, Classic & Delicious
Published On: 23/10/2016

While everyone is busy with the ice cream rolls trend, freak milkshakes, donut ice cream cones and just generally trying to put any kind of spin on frozen treats, Gelati Azza is one of the few places in Cairo still keeping things on a classic keel. As a venue, Gelati Azza on Mohandiseen's Lebanon Square is on the plain side and has no seating, so you're going to have to take your gelato to-go. The funny part is that there's no actual ice cream freezer to display the flavours as is the case with modern ice cream aprlours; but there is a Photoshopped poster on the wall showing the five available flavours. Another thing that will make you giggle a little is that the ice cream literally swimming in the deep freezer with no separators or containers – as all the flavours are just kind of melding into each other. Nevertheless, we opted for a cup of lemon gelato and mango gelato (8LE).Starting with the lemon, it had a perfect dense, soft and elastic texture with intense citrusy flavours. As for the mango gelato, it had a spot-on sweetness and bold mango flavour that made us feel like we're eating an actual mango. This was definitely the best and most refreshing mango ice cream we've had in some time. We also tried a cup of crema gelato (8LE). We honestly expected that it will taste like your everyday vanilla ice cream, but it was much, much better than that. The crema gelato tasted exactly like a rich and creamy oven baked Mehalabeya – a rich Egyptian custard – and had a softer and less elastic texture than the fruit flavoured ice creams we tried. Though it's a little rough around the edges, Gelati Azza reminded us that we have amazing, yet underrated, local brands and shops. The quality of the ice cream is as good as you'll find in Cairo and the portions are huge compared to its low prices. The selection of flavours might be small, but they're also classics – so, always remember not to judge gelato by its freezer.

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The Batter Half & Co.: Popular Cairo Confectioner Adds Ice Cream to its Repertoire
Published On: 10/10/2016

Four years ago, the Batter Half and Co. opened its first shop in Zamalek and it wasn't long before it earned a wide fan base with their signature Chocolate Heaven and Red Velvet Cake. Comfortably nestled among the best confectionary shops in Cairo, the Batter Half & Co. decided to take it up a notch this summer by offering ice cream lovers a selection of flavours to choose from. Wondering if The Batter Half and Co. has what it takes to impress ice cream addicts, we made up our minds to go and see for ourselves. Arriving a little bit too early, the ice cream hadn't been put on display yet, so we had to wait for about 10 minutes before everything was in its place. Besides a number of innovative flavours like red velvet and biscuit, we found some fruity flavours like mango and lemon as well as the universally-loved flavours including Nutella, coffee and caramel. Easy as it was to choose what flavours we wanted to try, the process of having them scooped was laborious for the staff; the stone-hard ice cream needed to rest a little before it could be served. But with the lemon being the only flavour supple enough, we decided to have one scoop (15LE) in a cone until the rest of our order was ready, which happened to be a scoop of biscuit, caramel and coffee ice cream . We had mixed feelings about the lemon; despite being the creamiest lemon ice cream we've ever tasted, we expected a zestier taste worthy of the distinctive flavour of lemon. In regards to the cone, we can't really judge given that we were too early to have a freshly-baked one, but the flavoursome buttery taste made up for the slight limpness the cone had. Thinking that it would taste like baby food, we were a bit skeptical about the biscuit ice cream, but it turned out to be the highlight of our visit; in addition to being as tasty as fresh butter cookies, it had an exquisite grainy texture – something we never thought we'd enjoy in an ice cream. Flavoursome and rich, the coffee ice cream also had crunchy bits of something that we honestly couldn't identify. Whether they were chocolate chips, coffee beans or both, those bits boosted the flavour as a whole. Just as good, the caramel flavour had a natural taste without being over sweet. Now that we liked almost every single ice cream flavour we tasted at The Batter Half & Co., it's clear that the place mastered the art of ice cream making –all the more reason to love it.

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Dip n Dip: Chocolate Central at Americana Plaza
Published On: 05/10/2016

Among the countless discoveries that changed the world, chocolate may not be the cleverest of all, but the sweetest indeed. 3100 years ago, an unknown Aztec – to whom we're eternally grateful - discovered chocolate while attempting to prepare a celebratory beer-like drink. Ever since, chocolate has become not only a refuge for the sweet-toothed, but also a culinary muse around which an entire menu can revolve –which is exactly the case with Dip n Dip. Celebrating such a magical ingredient, Dip n Dip's menu boasts a variety of crêpes, cakes and waffles, as well as a selection of dippers with which you can enjoy your favourite type of chocolate fondue. As chocolate lovers, we couldn't resist the temptation to try Americana Plaza's branch to see how they fared. Like many other places in Americana Plaza, Dip n Dip has a vast outdoor area where you can enjoy your dessert in the fresh air. There are also a couple of tables indoors, where we couldn't help but notice the three ever-running chocolate fountains adorning the marble counter, from which the wonder makers –in the eye of any chocolate devotee- are adding their final touches to whatever comes out of the kitchen. Each fountain of those three represents a type of chocolate; white, dark and milk chocolate. After greetings and seating, we were handed the menu from which we opted for Triple Chocolate Waffle (40-LE), Milk Chocolate Fondue (40-LE) with two choices of fresh pineapple and Cream Puffs as dippers (25-LE). For drinks, we ordered Dip n Dip Chocolate Freezy (45-LE) and Iced Cappuccino (35-LE). Though it wasn't a busy day for Dip n Dip, we waited for 15 minutes before the drinks were placed on the table. As a balanced blend of chocolate and vanilla milk shake; the smooth-textured Dip n Dip Chocolate Freezy was perfect. It also had a bit of a crunch, thanks to the good amount of chocolate chips added to it. When it came to the Iced Cappuccino, the waiter earlier suggested we balanced the sharp taste of coffee by adding a flavour. But the sharp taste of the coffee was the least of our concerns, because the drink as a whole was watery and lacking in consistency. The arrival of the drinks kept us in anticipation for the desserts to follow. But contrary to what we expected, we waited for another 30 minutes until the rest of the order was served. Rubbing salt into the wound; the waffle was crumbly and dry despite being served under a dense layer of dark, white and milk chocolate. But looking on the bright side, the chocolate topping harmoniously gathered the best of the three types of chocolate; the creamy taste of the white chocolate, the sweetness of the milk chocolate and the intense flavour of the dark chocolate –marking itself as the highlight of the Triple Chocolate Waffle. Fortunately, the chocolate fondue came to wash away the disappointments; lusciously melting above a candle to keep its consistency, the milk chocolate complemented the sour taste of the pineapple, as well as the fresh cream puffs. Despite the service being very slow, we have to admit that Dip n Dip has what it takes to satisfy a chocoholic. However, we recommend going there with an empty stomach, because we were gasping for breath after our visit.

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Marble Slab Creamery: New Branch at Mirage Mall Disappoints
Published On: 04/09/2016

Twists and trends on the simple and beloved concept of ice cream are becoming more and more common in Cairo, but possibly the first came in the form of mixing ice creams with toppings across a 'cold stone' surface – which was introduced by Marble slab Creamery. The recently-opened branch at Mirage Mall in New Cairo is a small, functional space that consists of a linear work-station that shows the ice cream fridge display and the toppings in front of the frozen marble slab. There are four tables placed outdoor for dining in. The variety of the ice cream was a bit limited with just 10 flavours, but mixing and matching the ice cream with the toppings is where you can explore variety. There are four sizes of serving cups; Kids (22LE), Value (30LE), Original (40LE) and Big Dipper (50LE), or you can go with a plain waffle (5LE). We ordered a cup of strawberry mixed with Maltesers (5LE per topping), and another cup of chocolate mixed with marshmallow. Starting with the strawberry-Maltesers mix, a giant scoop of ice cream was placed on the marble slab and then topped it with a fair amount of Malteseres. The ice cream itself tasted more like a vanilla ice cream with a little hint of strawberry rather than straight strawberry, while the mixing and distribution of the Maltesers was uneven. The same goes for the chocolate marshmallow mix, only it had several more flaws. The ice cream didn't have a noticeable chocolate flavour to it and the marshmallow froze due to the cold stone slab method which made it very chewy. After two fails from the marble slab method, we decided to go classic with a simple plain cone topped with a scoop of wild berries and a scoop of peanut butter. Sadly that didn't work either, as the waffle cone wasn't fresh at all; in addition the berries were bland in taste the ice rock hard –enough to break a plastic spoon, twice. However, the peanut butter ice cream was the only thing flavour that didn't taste bland – it actually tasted like peanut butter. As one of the first ice cream parlours of its kind in Egypt, you can't help but expect more from Marble Slab; but there was limited availability of different flavours and those flavours, of both ice cream and toppings, which were available were largely bland. Add to that the fact that it's a bit pricier than other ice creams shops and you have a pretty poor experience.

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Dixie Cream: Rich Selection, Poor Quality at CFC Branch of Donut Chain
Published On: 20/08/2016

Dessert-dedicated venues have been popping up across Cairo at a huge rate over the last few years; Not only are new venues opening, but existing ones are opening new branches at a rapid pace as they race to prove that they are at the top of the dessert game. Dixie Cream is one of the former, with a new branch opening inside Cairo Festival City at one of the entrances leading to the food court, giving it a unique location catching the attention of visitors going into or out of the area. With a small venue, it boasts a simple seating area best suited for short visits, with a wide variety of sugary options, ranging from their signature donuts, Italian styled gelato and frozen yogurt, to a mix of hot and cold drinks made in-house. After taking a seat at one of the available tables, we noticed that it wasn't clean and had traces of juice and sugar from previous guests and with the absence of tissues we couldn't do anything but wait, only for the waiter to arrive a few minutes later and wipe down the table after we told him about it. We opted for the house special Chocolate glazed donut (11LE), Red Velvet filled donut (16LE) and Mini Apple Fritter (14.70LE), while also ordering a latte (17LE) with hazelnut flavour (7 LE) and a Berry Smoothie (15LE). Unfortunately, the chocolate glazed donut wasn't fresh and had a stale aftertaste; on the other hand, the red velvet filled donut had a creamy white filling which was quite good overpowering the again stale dough. While it would have been better hot, the tender apple fritter was served at room temperature; having a cinnamon-tinted centre and a very subtle apple aftertaste which was almost undetectable, with an overpowering sugar glaze while. The Berry smoothie was refreshing, but very sugary, with an artificial aftertaste rather than a fruity one. As for the Latte, we were brought a double shot of Turkish coffee which was strange but with all the issues that we've had during our visit, we ended up not correcting the waiter and leaving shortly afterwards. Overall, there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed with competitors like Dunkin Donuts and other dessert specialist to contend with, particularly when considering the fact that there is a priority problem (at this branch at least). The staff were happy to talk up a lot of the items, but while neglecting the thing Dixie Cream is most know for – donuts.

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