Pure Café: Bright, Busy Café in Zamalek
2, Taha Hussein St.
It seems that every new Cairo café is finding home on the streets of Zamalek and curiosity led us to Pure Café to try out what it has to offer. It’s hard to miss the streak of white that has taken over the corner of the busy intersection between Taha Hussein and Ismail Mohamed Streets. While the choice of location is puzzling, seeing as it is so heavily trafficked by cars, what is further perplexing is the overall aesthetic of it all, in contrast to the sleepy, visually muted area.
Pure Café is self-described as a Syrian cafe, but menu includes croissants, crêpes, sandwiches, salads, and shawerma from Sag next door, and a diverse array of beverages, both caffeinated and not, as well as juices. Shisha was also on the menu under the title ‘Hubbly Bubbly’.
We found the place to be quite stuffy in the heat, with only one fan in the corner to circulate the air. The once-white furniture has already greyed, the PVC sofas were not very comfortable and the pop music blaring from the speakers was a bit too loud.
Many of the menu items were unavailable during our visit and the table we sat at was considerably wobbly, but after a protracted inquiry into what was available that day, we ordered fattoush (25LE), a four-cheese sandwich (20LE) and a club sandwich (22LE), as well as mango and kiwi juice (18LE) and a mint hot chocolate (20LE).
The mango and kiwi juice tasted fine, but was served lukewarm, and the mint hot chocolate was not really hot chocolate, but rather, a heavily watered cocoa without even a hint of mint. The only redeeming qualities of this drink were the cute foam design floating on top when served and their generous sizes.
The sandwiches were decent: the four-cheese sandwich included three types of deli cheese and a labnah spread on French bread, while the club sandwich – made with toasted white bread and luncheon meats – on the other hand, did not stand out in anyway, save for perhaps a little more mayonnaise than optimal.
The fattoush, however, was wonderful. The portion was huge, enough to serve at least two people, with a generous scattering of fried bread on top and a dressing that had a pleasing mixture of pomegranate and citrus bursts.
We’re still not quite sure what draws customers to flock to Pure Café, especially in the evenings, but in the end, everything boils down to personal preference. And even for those of us who do not understand Pure Café and what it stands for, it is nice to know that experimenting with the menu may turn up unexpected gems.