Chubby Yankees: Bland American Diner in Zamalek
There are many reasons to fall in love with American cuisine. For many, it’s one of the first international cuisines that made its way to Egypt in the 80’s, while for others it’s the fact that it brings together flavours from other cultures and cuisines.
But for most, there’s just something so appealing about how heart – and occasionally greasy – it is. This has made American diners and fast food joints the most common type of restaurant to be found around Cairo. Chubby Yankees on Aziz Abaza St. in Zamalek is the latest addition to that long list.
Far from the traffic, Chubby Yankees is located in an area void of other shops or restaurants. Consisting of two floors, the first floor holds combinations of wooden chairs and high tables that can hold four people, plus an LCD screen, while the top floor has two seating areas separated by a wooden couch. Across from the counter is a bar seating area that overlooks the street, which is a much better view considering how depressing the decor is.
Black paint and red brick walls make up the interior, which is monotonous and incredibly dull. An attempt to salvage this with black and white wallpaper does little.
We went up to the second floor where we saw four people. We assumed they’re the ones who worked here since there was no one downstairs. The menu was a small piece of paper that comprised of eight items, none of which were labelled with a price.
From the appetisers we ordered Chicken Strips (25LE) which are supposedly served with a dip of our choosing. What we received was 6 pieces of chicken in a foil plate with four packets of ketchup and tomato slices. While the strips were cooked well, the layer of batter fell apart quite easily, and the chicken had no hint of seasoning. After the chef recommended the Thousand Island dressing, we found it to be just as bland as the chicken.
For our mains, we tried an American classic; Mac and Cheese (17LE). Unfortunately, it was just pasta with white sauce in disguise. We thought maybe it would have more cheese than usual in it, but there was nothing discernible to set it apart from anywhere else.
The Tacos (27LE) were probably the highlight of the night, but that’s hardly an accomplishment. The only thing that sets it apart from the appetiser dish is the tortilla bread and lettuce. We did, however, enjoy the plate made from two large tacos and the french fries.
The service wasn’t much better than the food; staff were hard to find, and we had to call for them through the stairwell to place an order.
While the prices at Chubby Yankees certainly aren’t as high as other diners or fast food joints, the quality of food is barely worth any money at all.