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Saturday, 24 October 2020

Granita: A church cafeteria that evokes memories of a bygone age

Zamalek always surprises us with unique restaurants, but this one is by far the most surprising of them all

Amira El Noshokaty , Sunday 26 Jan 2020
Granita
Granita restored church cafeteria
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Granita is the name of an Italian dessert made of iced water, sugar and various flavours. It was a famous treat in Egypt from the 1940s through to the 60s.

"We picked the name because of the good memories it evokes," explained Nazli Shahine, the co-creator of this cafeteria.

Being head of the Zamalek Association, which works to safeguard the neighbourhood of Zamalek, Shahine was approached by the All Saints Church for ideas to restore the church's cafe. 

Granita

Together with her husband Al-Sharif Ali and brother Selim Shahine, they came up with the concept for the cafe, which has been the talk of the town since its soft opening only two months ago.

Selim Shahine, who is a professor of anthropology, aimed to bring back the authenticity of his Groppi outings with his grandfather, renowned Egyptian writer Mahmoud Taymour.

"I chose to call it a cafeteria to revive the concept," he explained.

The old fans hanging from ceilings, the homemade desserts named after their bakers, the paintings of Zamalek's most famous trees, the signs, and the greenery all take you back to a golden era. Here you can sit quietly with your coffee as you enjoy the day unfold. 

Granita's garden is greatly reminiscent of Groppi's garden, or Chantilly's. The cafe has a rather long line of tables next to a small glass display of today's dessert, ending with the church's old bell facing the church's Wadi craft shop. 

Granita

Breakfast by the bell is indeed a treat. I tried the Benedict with spinach and a double macchiato, which was just perfect. I also recommend the Greek latte, which has cardamom, cinnamon and cloves along with a shot of espresso.

As for something sweet, I highly recommend Amal's pasta flora strawberry.

Opening hours: 7 am to 7 pm

Granita, All Saints Zamalek

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