Olives: Wholesome Meals at Heliopolis’ Citystars
City Stars, Phase 2, 4th Floor
Cairo malls, more often than not, cater for a whole day of shopping with numerous restaurants and cafés keeping our sugar levels high. Heliopolis’ Citystars is, of course, one of the largest malls in Cairo, offering up a maze of restaurants and fast food joints, Olives being one of them. Situated on the fourth floor of the second phase, the restaurant is split into three different parts, with the indoor area reserved for shisha smokers. The deep crimson colour scheme, as well as a number of plants and pebbles create an earthy, comfortable atmosphere.
The staff are incredibly friendly but needed prompting a couple of times throughout the meal; probably on account of the vast number of tables occupied with families with young children.
The menu is a mish-mash of both Lebanese and international dishes; hot and cold mezzas, soups and salads, meats, grills, sandwiches, pizza and manakeesh. The drinks menu is also diverse, with fresh fruit juices, cocktails, tea and coffee. We’d highly recommend the deliciously sweet pineapple-orange juice (18.85LE) and the sugary fresh lemonade (14.85LE).
To begin with, we ordered one finely chopped, fresh and tasty taboula (15.85LE), a creamy hommos (15.85LE) and the most delectable makanek (34.35LE) we’ve ever had; it was marinated perfectly in Olives’ ‘special sauce’, which had a sharp but sweet vinegar aftertaste. The side of baladi bread was served warm and fluffy, with some pieces crispier than others. Thankfully our food was delivered promptly, meaning we didn’t lose too much shopping time.
For our mains, one meat manakeesh (25.85LE) and a beef emince (54.85LE) took our fancy. Our meat manakeesh was somewhat disappointing, resembling a thin, crispy based pizza topped with mince meat only. Although the meat was well-cooked and juicy with a twinge of spice, it turned out to be a rather bland choice overall. Our meat emince fared much better, with well-cooked strips of meat swimming in a rich, mushroom and gravy sauce, accompanied by sides of aromatic, al dente rice and soft, buttery vegetables.
Again, the dessert menu is a mixed selection of Lebanese konafa (23.85LE) and katayef with nuts (22.50LE), as well as lava cake (28.85LE) and waffles (29.85LE). Because of the generosity of the dishes, we steered clear of pudding, although a few of them certainly sounded tempting.
Overall, Olives provides a quick, family-friendly dining experience, whilst delivering basic but tasty meals with some exceptional surprises.