Bread Basket: Staple Cairo Bakery Chain Still Standing Strong in Zamalek
Over the past few years, the island of Zamalek has seen 26th of July Street sprout numerous restaurants and cafes. Standing strong against the plethora of new competitors is Bread Basket – a staple of bakeries and cafes in Cairo. The completely glass front reveals a stylish layout; two rows of high tables and stools look out onto the busy street and are perfectly positioned for some serious people watching. The bare brick walls coupled with the black and white furniture, gives the small ‘food emporium’ a particularly urban feel.
We marched up to the glass counter at the back and were greeted by rows of doughnuts (5LE-8LE), mini and large, savoury and sweet croissants (3.5LE-11LE), muffins (4LE/8LE), biscuits (6LE-9.50LE/100g), pizza pieces (11LE/13LE) and chocolate chip cake loaves (25LE). An assortment of bread loaves can be found all over the place, including rye bread (19LE), malt grain (25LE), burger buns (2.50LE), French baguettes (6.50LE) and toast (11LE/12.50LE). Catering bread or sandwich baskets – serving between four and six people – can be prepared with 24-hours notice (45LE-140LE).
As well as ready-made products, Bread Basket also offers cooked breakfasts (22LE-44LE), omelettes (20.50LE-28LE), muesli with yoghurt and honey (20LE) or a French breakfast (49LE), complete with a selection of mini pastries. Their salad (23LE-40LE) and sandwich selection (17LE-45LE) are nicely varied, with the choice of the bread, the filling and several extras.
To eat, we picked a chicken mayo sandwich on olive ciabatta (32.45LE), a jam doughnut (8LE) and a cinnamon croissant (8.50LE). The sandwich was prepared quickly in their back room and was fairly disappointing; despite the occasional tasty chunk of black olive, the bread was otherwise dry and certainly less than extraordinary. The chicken mayo mixture was also incredibly dry, made worse with a stingy helping of mayonnaise.
Thankfully, the cinnamon croissant was an improvement, with a crispy outer shell and a generous filling of sweet cinnamon – we’d recommend the croissant was heated a little before eating though. The best of the three, however, was the soft, airy jam doughnut; covered in sugar and filled with smooth and sweet apricot jam, which made for a welcome change to the usual standard strawberry filling.
Their drinks menu is also vast, with plenty of hot and cold drinks; coffees (11.50LE-17LE), teas (7LE/8LE) and espressos as well as iced coffees (9LE-18.50LE), smoothies (20LE), milkshakes (19.50LE) and fresh juices (11LE-13LE). We picked up a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice (12LE), which was neither too sweet nor too bitter, sporting just the right amount of orange pulp.
Although the sandwich wasn’t up to par, we’re sure the friendly staff would have corrected it had we made a fuss. On the other hand, we’d highly recommend their sweet pastries and would most probably return in the morning in order to sample their fresh batches of bread, as well as their tasty sounding breakfasts, whilst watching the world go by.