Gennaro: Bustling Café at Oasis Mall, Heliopolis
With many centring their social lives around the extensive range of restaurants and cafés in Cairo, the city’s flashy meeting hubs are often a popular choice for dining out. Despite not being priviledged with a view of the water, newly opened café, Gennaro, is strategically located near the lagoon at Oasis Mall.
Compared to other venues in the vicinity, Gennaro is in a relatively quiet corner, graced with spaciousness, an outside seating area and a second floor. With an overcrowded indoor area, we were given no choice but to brave the cold in the cosy outdoor area, huddled underneath a couple of patio heaters.
Being a big group, we were able to sample a wide of variety from Gennaro’s vast international menu. For starters, we ordered chicken strips (19LE), onion soup (18LE), one margarita pizza (30LE) and a super supreme (34LE) pizza, as well as Quattro fromage fettuccine pasta (30LE). For our mains, we opted for beef fillet and chicken (70LE), beef fillet (70LE), cordon bleu (50LE), and shrimp and chicken with curry sauce (70LE).
Served with sweet honey mustard, the chicken strips were crunchy with a strong poultry flavour. The onion soup was served without cream or additions, but retained a thick texture and was delicious nonetheless. The pizzas were large enough to satisfy one person and boasted a great, fresh taste.
Unfortunately, the beef filet was less than fresh, poorly marinated and overcooked. The grilled chicken fared much better whereas the cordon bleu, though pleasant tasting, was lacking cheese in what was overall a bland stuffing. Our favourite of the choices transpired to be the shrimp and chicken curry. Served with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables, the chicken was moist, while the shrimp was fresh and flavourful, which is sometimes not the case with similar venues. Sadly, the sautéed vegetables and the mashed potatoes seemd like an afterthought, with the latter being rather dry.
The menu is full of a mouth watering variety of cocktails, frappes, coffee and desserts which were were dying to try; however, the lack of service forced us into an early retreat. Although courteous and endearing, the under-pressure waiters seemingly forgot about our table. After being handed the wrong bill and left stranded with the correct one, we approached the counter ourselves to settle our debt.
Despite the slow service at peak times, like many of the venues at Oasis Mall, Gennaro provides everything necessary when looking for a place to socialise over coffee and shisha.