Nino’s: Zamalek’s Newest Bakery & Dessert Shop
15A Al Mansour Mohamed St.
Bakeries & Patisseries
If you tried to count how many bakeries and dessert shops there are in Zamalek, you’ll quickly run out of fingers – and possibly toes. But Cairenes have a notorious collective sweet-tooth that is seemingly passed on generation to generation, and the latest store to capitalise on this inherited love of all things sweet comes in the form of Nino’s – a name that was spotted at many bazaars and food events in the past.
Located on Al Mansour Mohamed Street, the aesthetic of the venue combines kitsch – think traditional wooden ahwa chairs – and the fluffiness of a cupcake shop – think pinks, whites and photos of baked goodies. Like many venues of its kind, in-store seating is minimal; there’s one table on the right of the entrance and a bar with high chairs on the left, with the counter facing the shop-front.
Browsing the display case and ordering was a little more difficult than it should have been; none of the items were labelled with prices or names, prompting us to ask a million and one questions to the one staff member holding down the fort. We eventually dived headfirst in the jar-stored cakes – one containing chocolate cake and the other containing chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla cream (25LE each). We also tried a Nutella cupcake (15LE) as well as a chocolate and vanilla cupcake (15LE) and a brownie (10LE) – yeah, we were hungry that day.
Unfortunately, all the items had one thing in common – they were dry, which was especially strange with the jar-cakes, whose layered build would suggest that they would be moist. Dryness aside, the chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla cream cake jar stood as the highlight. The slight saltiness of the peanut butter was a perfect foil for the sweetness of the chocolate and the creaminess of the vanilla. The plain chocolate cake was just a little too sweet and the chocolate cream contained un-caramelised sugar, giving it an unpleasant graininess. The issue with dryness, meanwhile, effected the brownie most; it lacked that very specific moist chewiness and was actually a little crumbly – and the same could be said for the cupcakes. There was little difference between the Nutella and chocolate-vanilla and the latter’s blue icing tasted heavily artificial.
Overall, we couldn’t help but be disappointed at the time of our visit to Nino’s. Visually, it ticks all the boxes, the items are incredibly alluring and the rise of Nino’s as a pop-up stall to full-blown shop should be commended; however, the shop needs several tweaks before it can really make an impact – all the ingredients are there.