In the nineties having breakfast often involved a trip to a traditional bakery, an unpretentious place equipped with an oven and several baked goods laid out on large baking trays. There were no waiters and nobody waiting for you at the door; you just took a small plastic bag, gathered your goods and headed to the cashier. That was it. The place would usually sport sooty stains and patches of flour on the floor, but the smell of the goods was divine and the taste delicious. You could buy biscuits, small pizzas, croissants, cheese paté and even feteer really inexpensively. Whatever your fancy, you could buy a hefty and fresh breakfast for less than EGP 2.
Sadly, traditional bakeries declined in popularity, and one after the other they closed down. They were quickly replaced with posh cafes with snooty waiters and hiked-up prices. Enter Khamera, which means baking yeast in Arabic, a bakery that brings back traditional baked goods and combines them with friendly service. Tucked away in Zamalek’s Brazil Street, the bakery offers such sweet fare as date-filled biscuits (traditionally known as ka’ab ghazal or deer’s heel) and Egyptian butter cookies (menein).
In addition, they also offer the more trendy products such as macaroons and fresh pretzels. The macaroons are soft and velvety, and not overly sweet, which is a common mishap in macaroons on offer in many modern bakeries. Six macaroons cost EGP 20.
Khamera’s Egyptian butter cookies are baked just right; they are crumbly and moist, and their vegetarian pizza has a spicy kick to it. Additionally, the portions are quite large, like those found at a traditional bakery from yesteryear. The pizza comes in medium-sized slices, and a vegetarian or sausage pizza costs EGP 7. Khamera also bakes several kinds of bread, including whole wheat. Their bread is very soft and fluffy, and highly recommended with butter to ensure maximum yumminess. A bag of whole wheat bread costs EGP 9.
They also offer vanilla and orange biscuits, which are commonly known as madeleines and are the best accompaniment to afternoon tea; a kilo of the biscuits costs EGP 36. Their croissants are also very delicious, and a small plain croissant can cost as little as EGP 3. They also offer a selection of tarts, cakes, muffins and cupcakes.