In the wake of a window-shopping tour, or a fall/winter shopping spree, or in between shopping and the cinema, there comes time for a relaxed brunch/lunch.
With its convenient place at the heart of the leading shopping malls (Nile Towers, City Stars and Cairo Festival City, Mall of Arabia, Al-Gezira Plaza, Point 90 and The Waterway), and with a menu designed to fit those looking for a brunch or a light lunch, Casper & Gambini’s is a very appropriate destination.
One thing about the menu of Casper & Gambini’s is the wide and generally updated selections of salads, sandwiches, soups and starters. “Ample choices” and “many possibilities to mix and match” are two of the most common remarks that would be made by a newcomer to this establishment that has been operating in Egypt for about a decade now.
The carrot and ginger and wild mushroom soups are certainly worth trying. A real home-made soup, served promptly warm in simple white bowls with garlic croutons.
The waiters at this restaurant-café allow the client to peacefully go through their soups while being around willing to take the following order, without the too imposing “How is the food?" annoyance that keeps popping up at every other sip or bite in most restaurants today.
If one is planning a second phase of shopping, then there is perhaps room, after the quite filling soup, for sharing Gambini’s mozzarella, steaks and cherry tomatoes and basil, veggie spring rolls, which are not too crunchy, and chicken tenders that are really crisp from the outside and tender on the inside.
For an even smaller bite, one could opt for the Brie or salmon tartines, served with a small portion of mixed leaf salad on the side. But the cranberries and apricots that are promised by the menu, or for that matter the goat cheese tartine, are usually missing.
Or one might consider the lemon quinoa salad, that is not just a splash of quinoa over too much lettuce, as is the case with many other restaurants, or the lentil and roasted veggies salad that is served with grilled chicken breast.
If one is too hungry to be satisfied by a salad after the creamy soup then there is an endless choices of penne Arabiata, chicken pesto pasta, smoked salmon sandwich, chicken quesadillas sandwiches, Tex Mex burgers, or any of the pizzas that are closer to the Italian form than the American one.
If one is happy to just follow the soup with a dessert and a coffee, then again there are ample and inviting choices, especially the Bernadette chocolate cake, if it happens to be there, the pain perdu, which comes really close to the original thing, and chocolate fondant. One thing to avoid is the promised "ultimate crepe" that ends up being ultimately disappointing.
Casper & Gambini’s is open from 8am to 12pm.
Its price list does not exactly place it on the inexpensive end. Two soups, a bottle of flat mineral water and two salads and two coffees are likely to cost close to EGP 550.