Grand Café: Downtown Café Atmosphere at Dandy Mall
Dandy Mega Mall, Km 28 Cairo-Alexandria Desert Rd.
10am - 2am -
Dandy Mall may not be
as big and aesthetically set as its show-off cousin Citystars, but it does
boast a number of first-rate retailers that cover both the necessary and the
decadent, including H&M, Tommy Hilfiger and the first Marks & Spencer
in Egypt. Along the strip of the main entrance is a glut of cafés and eateries.
Grand Café doesn’t
particularly stand out against its neighbours, but the dim lighting, low
seating and giant projected screen are noticeable.
Cold drinks cost
between 11LE and 20LE, and the fresh fruit basket (19LE) takes you on a
rollercoaster of emotions. A cocktail of fruits blended with ice cream sounds
good on paper, but in the flesh, it looks boggy, heavy and anything but fresh with
a worrying grey tint to it. Never judge a drink by its colour, though; because
it’s smooth, refreshing and every bit as fruit-filled as promised.
The sunshine cocktail
is constructed of three separate layers; a syrup at the base, lemonade (that’s
7-Up to us) in the middle, and then another type of yellow syrup on top. While
it was pretty to look at, after the three layers inevitably got to know each
other and fused, it just tasted like very sweet lemonade.
Other notable cold
drinks on offer include vanilla, chocolate or strawberry milkshakes at 19LE,
and ice cream soda at 20LE. All your favourite coffee-based drinks are
available at a range of between 8LE and 15LE, including both regular and iced
mochas and lattés.
Grand Café’s food
menu that is as ample in quantity as any restaurant if you get peckish.
Starters are plentiful, with regular and chicken Caesar salads selling at 20LE
and 27LE respectively and a four-piece meat or cheese sambousak dish at 14LE.
The mini-hawawshi was surprisingly pleasant for 21LE, and although it wasn’t an
exact replica of the real thing, the bite-sized meat pie was tender and
flavoursome. A main course of kabab and kofta might be good to share at 50LE,
with the same applying to the mixed grill at 53.50LE.
Desserts are in abundance,
and at 25LE, the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream stands out, as does
‘the black and white’; vanilla and chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce,
whipped cream and wafer biscuit, all for 18.50LE.
Shisha is available for
between 12LE and 20LE, with the fakher blends being the most expensive. Apart
from the usual grape fakher blend, Grand Café offers a watermelon fakher blend that is smooth and full of
flavour, and well worth the extra money.
Whether deliberate or
not, Grand Café feels like a Downtown
pavement café; the wicker seating and tables are uncomfortably close, and the
waiters have to weave like snake-hipped dancers to attend to the very loud and
demanding customers. This is not an element that one would factor into having a
pleasant and relaxing evening. But if you can’t beat them, join them; we advise
that you be just as loud and demanding.