Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said ‘less is more’. Often times, in Cairo, we find ourselves thinking the same thing. While many Egyptian venues thrive on ‘more is more’, we still find ourselves hoping that somebody, somewhere will just get it; sometimes – only sometimes – they do. Unfortunately though, Boulevard café in Zamalek does not.
Located on Brazil Street, right in front of the Algerian embassy, Boulevard is ultimately another shisha café, but the menu is an extensive one, offering all sorts of salads, soups, sandwiches, pastas, pizza, main courses of fish, chicken and meat, as well as a range of desserts. We went for the cheese balls starter (25LE), chicken pane sandwich (31LE) and pasta arabiata (27LE). We also decided to try the fresh guava juice (13.95LE), which was indeed fresh, but, was quite thick and difficult to get through the straw.
Our main course arrived without any sign of the starter – which was forgotten or not written down, we’re not sure. The sandwich was generous, coming in two halves and served with fries. The chicken was the best part of the meal, though it was by no means spectacular. The French fries were a bit too oily for our liking and not ‘hand-battered’ as promised. The pasta was even less impressive, arriving cold and drenched in a tasteless sauce that lacked any substance or seasoning.
We were eventually served the starter which was also underwhelming. A few rubbery, cubed-shaped fried cheese pieces were placed atop a bed of lettuce – not the wisest thing for fried items.
Keeping our hopes up for dessert we went for a Boulevard recommended ‘Deep Dish Fudge’ (23LE) – sounds good, right? Anticipating some semblance of deep dish, fudge and possibly something warm and gooey, we were instead served a stale slice of chocolate cake.
The service was inconsistent, taking a lot of time with some orders, while being prompt with others. The crowd at Boulevard is young and happy-go-lucky, but we found ourselves quite disappointed with the standard of food. They serve shisha (10LE-25LE) which will likely prop up its success.
A very polished interior sets it apart from spots such as Wel3a
and Café Mex
in terms of aesthetics, but overall, we found that it was maybe trying a
little too hard and would have fared much better sticking to basics.