Corner Eleven: Nice Atmosphere, Disappointing Food at Mohandiseen Restaurant & Cafe
11 Abdel Moniem Riyad St.
10AM - 2AM -
Aya El Garhy
Restaurants and cafes continue to pop up on Cairo’s streets at an unprecedented pace; competition is fierce as each new venue tries to out-do the others with gimmicks, hooks and new ideas.
One of the newest to open in Mohandiseen is Corner Eleven Restaurant & Café. Upon arrival, we were welcomed and swiftly shown to our table on the spacious upper floor. The décor is simple, almost indistinct at times, but various quirky touches and an overall sense of casual sophistication come together nicely and keep things interesting.
We were blown away by the vast menu offering an array of options; from savoury crepes and pizzas to pastas, burgers and succulent-sounding main dishes. From the appetisers we opted for the Tex Mex Fries (31LE) and Classic Dip Nachos (36LE), before going for the Steak Sub Sandwich (37LE), the BBQ Chilli Burger (40LE), Pizza Margarita (35LE) and Chicken Paupiettes with a side of broccoli gratin and mashed potatoes (63LE).
First, we were served a warm bread basket accompanied by three pleasant dips: olive tapenade, pico de gallo, and a ketchup-mayo dip. The Tex Mex Fries arrived first, topped with minced beef, jalapeno peppers and cheese; unfortunately, the fries lacked any crunch, leaving the dish a bit limp, albeit tasty. The Nachos were nowhere to be found.
Our mains arrived thirty minutes later, with the Steak Sub in desperate need of some seasoning and more mozzarella. The burger fared better as a char-grilled slightly thin patty topped with BBQ chilli sauce tucked in a fresh bun. The pizza, meanwhile, suffered from a similar lack of seasoning – maybe some oregano or basil.
We hoped the Chicken Paupiettes would salvage the experience, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The chicken rolls were stuffed with olives, a dash of mozzarella and pastrami. The chicken was overcooked, leaving the main element of the dish extremely dry despite the generous serving of mushroom sauce made. The broccoli gratin, meanwhile, was merely some broccoli sautéed in butter, while the mashed potatoes were probably the best part of the meal; creamy and topped with a rather enjoyable sauce.
We then had to point out to our waiter that the Nachos were forgotten. Served twenty minutes later, the chips were stale and all the components tasted noticeably un-fresh.
As small as the imperfections in the food might have been, a little seasoning really does go along way and attention to detail – which was lacking – can be the difference.
Compared to other similar venues, the prices at Corner Eleven are pretty reasonable; but for a place that has extolled the quality, variety and taste of its food, and subsequently lauded for that in various advertorials, the food met none of the expectations.
One thing that the restaurant-cafe does have in its favour is its generally amiable atmosphere and it’s difficult not to be tempted to dip into their hefty collection of board games.