There is no place quite like Zamalek, it has its own distinct vibe and story to tell. A visit to Granita for breakfast in the courtyard of All Saints Cathedral in Zamalek managed to sum it up succinctly. The quirkiness, the élan, the homage to the 30’s and 40’s. All the creation of siblings Selim and Nazli Shahine for the Church, and managed by Nazli’s husband Al Sharif Aly.
Type of Cuisine
Well-loved and time-honored dishes from gracious roots, with a smattering of contemporary tasty treats. Breakfast dishes, soups, sandwiches, appetizers, delectable desserts, and a selection of main dishes currently being developed by a seasoned French chef.
Signature Dishes & Dishes Sampled
Signature dishes include the Greek Feta Cheese in Phyllo Pastry, Chicken Liver Mousse, Roast Beef Sandwich, Vietnamese Coffee, Affogato, Sloppy Joe’s Burger. Granita is so enchanting it takes a bit of time to absorb the ambience, so we chose to let our eyes feast a little before investigating the menu. In need of a caffeine fix, we started with a spot-on cappuccino. Just the right size, it came served in a retro cup and saucer, setting the 1940’s mood from the start.
A few minutes later our Greek Feta Cheese in Phyllo Pastry and Chicken Liver Mousse arrived, and we set to with enthusiasm. The combination of piping hot cheese encased in crisp pastry, with a slather of sweet fig jam and a sweet chili dip on the side might sound bizarre to the uninitiated, but trust us, now we know why it is one of the most popular items. The Chicken Liver Mousse went down just as easily. Served in a small mason jar, on a wooden board, with small squares of freshly toasted bread, it was blissfully light, creamy, and sinfully rich.
We followed up with a Roast Beef Sandwich, simply presented with its own little jug of rich jus on the side. The portion was generous and easy enough to share. We lingered over our lunch, luxuriating in the atmosphere. What’s not to love about lunching with candlelight flickering from antique candelabra?
The dessert selection also harks back to yesteryear, and like the bread, is made in- house or sourced from artisan bakers. Guided by instinct, we went for Crème Caramel, and Lemon Tart. Good choice! Both had a homemade authenticity, the Crème Caramel was rich and laden with syrup, the Lemon Tart was as fresh-as-can-be with a sharp tangy topping on a melt-in-the-mouth crumbly, buttery base. This sealed the deal for a return visit in the very near future.
Other Menu Options that Appealed & Beverages Available
We can’t wait to pop in for brunch, complete with Foul El Amir and a selection of teas from Taylors of Harrogate, or maybe to try the Rosemary Cashew Fereek, or even the calorie-laden Coupe Liegeoise Vanille. Both hot and cold beverages are available. We loved the coffee.
Décor & Ambience
Gentrified and welcoming, the low key buzz of conversations from the lunch crowd scattered around tables and ensconced in secluded corners crammed with vintage sofas gives Granita a cozy, clubby feel. The main area also opens onto a pleasant outdoor secret garden with comfortable seating in Zamalek.
We adored the mélange of retrieved and reclaimed furniture. Baize-covered card tables alongside stainless steel topped refractory tables, a gracious wooden dining table that must have seen countless dinner parties, a distinguished desk and marble-topped tables rescued from the capacious cathedral storeroom, with lighting provided by a spectacular chandelier, candles and some industrial touches to bridge the decades. The profusion of plants supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture is available for purchase, just in case you are in the mood.
Clientele Mix: An intriguing, cosmopolitan mix. 25+, oozing old-school charm and style.
Price Range: Moderate
Worth Noting: Granita avoids the use of plastic as much as possible. Paper straws are used, along with paper wrapping for takeaways.
Address: All Saints Cathedral. 5 Michel Lutfallah St., Zamalek
Tel: 0101 2797522
Opening hours: 7 am to 7 pm, with hours extending to 11 pm from March.