Crave: Original Branch of One of Cairo’s Favourite Restaurants Still Standing Strong
It’s always interesting re-reviewing Cairo’s restaurants; consistency is a game that few eateries around Egypt’s capital juggle effectively, but it's something that the Zamalek branch of Crave has seemingly managed to maintain.
Founded back in 2004, Crave has become a staple of the local dining scene and has expanded to Maadi, Tivoli Dome, Arkan Mall and City View since its inception. In that time, the casual atmosphere of the restaurant has remained unchanged; there are separate areas for smoking and non-smoking, as well as a comfy couch area, all to the backdrop of a demure and velvety decor and cutlery used as quirky decoration.
Having been around for over a decade, Crave can lay claim to having several signature dishes over the years, including the Zombie Burger and the Chocolate Fondant among others, but regulars often forget how extensive the menus really is, covering sandwiches, burgers, pastas, salads and more. Upon our arrival, a friendly waiter gracefully opened the door for us and another led us to our table before placing menus and filling our glasses with water with a pleasantly casual ease.
From the appetizers section, we opted for Spinach Mushrooms (37.95LE). For our mains, we opted for Veal Parmesan (84.95LE) and Chicken MCM (64.95LE) and for dessert, an order of Mini Cheese Cake (32.95LE).
Our first nibble of the meal came in the form of an appetiser that was every bit as rich and full of flavour as the menu suggested. Arriving around fifteen minutes after placing our order, the Spinach Mushrooms (37.95LE) was quite delightful. Floating in a creamy spinach sauce, the mushrooms were stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese and served with Crave’s special seasoned and buttered bread.
Things only got better with the mains. The Veal Parmesan (84.95LE), covered in tempura and fried to a perfect crisp, was both tasty and generous in portion, though the dish’s side of spaghetti with tomato sauce was, unfortunately, far too greasy.
Our second main was the Chicken MCM (64.95LE); a fried chicken breast topped with mushrooms, onions and melted mozzarella cheese. While it was well seasoned and cooked, the chicken was cut too think – an unusual gripe, maybe, but it was so think, in fact, that it was unevenly cooked. Despite that, the side of fettuccine Alfredo, was much better, boasting noticeably fresh mushrooms and a sauce that was creamy without being too heavy.
Then came many Cairenes’ favourite part of a meal – dessert. Opting for the mini cheesecake (32.95LE), we can confirm that they are every bit as small as they appear in the menu – maybe even smaller. The three cheesecakes came with strawberry syrup, caramel and chocolate and each could easily fit in a tablespoon. While it was satisfying in terms of flavour, they were all incredibly sweet, maybe too sweet for some.
Despite the niggling flaws during the time of our visit, Crave’s strongest characteristic is that it is suitable for either a casual bite or a more formal full-blown meal; the whole experience is laidback, unhurried and unpretentious – all keys to its continuing success.