Early September, a new chain of restaurants opened in Zamalek: Simply Pasta and Simply Potatoes. The two small restaurants offer food on the go that is well-cooked and flavourful. Their customisable menus mean that you get to create your own concoction of your preferred starchy dish.
We contacted the restaurant manager, Kamal Abdel Azim, for more information. He explained that the idea for the chain had been brewing since 2011, but they weren’t able to open up due to the fickle state of the country. “The idea is that in each neighbourhood there will be seven restaurants,” Abdel Azim said. Each of these restaurants will be strictly a one-item kitchen.
“When you go to a restaurant, you find a huge menu with many items, and you get confused. Also, for each item, you only have three or four options,” Abdel Azim said. He explained that the idea behind the chain is that the specialization allows you to offer the customers more variety and higher quality. “We don’t get [just] any seafood or pasta; we only use the best suppliers. We really care about quality and hygiene,” he added.
Unfortunately, the small restaurants mean that there are not many available seats. There is only a small bar inside and a couple of chairs placed outside at night. Therefore, it makes much more sense to either pickup your food or order it by phone, as they have recently started their delivery service.
To order your pasta dish, you get to choose from six types of pasta: penne, spaghetti, fusilli, fettuccine, bowtie or whole wheat. However, for the whole wheat, you pay five pounds extra. Then you pick out the main flavour of the pasta, such as wild mushroom, Bolognese, garlic or olive oil. After that, you have the option of adding toppings to your pasta, which include chicken, jalapenos, and olives. There are two sizes for the pasta dishes: medium and large.
For the simply potatoes menu, there is the option of customising your own dish of baked potatoes in the same fashion as the pasta, or you can opt for one of the pre-set dishes. They offer strange combinations, such as potatoes with cheeseburgers, ketchup, mustard and mayo. In addition, there are some speciality cuts, such as pomme frites, chips, wedges and shoestring potatoes.
We tried the wild mushroom pasta, barbecue chicken pasta and beef sausages pasta. Everyone liked the sauce and the fact that the pasta was not over-cooked; however, the sausages were not very tasty. The wild mushroom pasta was really rich and creamy, so it makes for a heavy dish. The medium sized pastas were a good portion; the basic wild mushroom pasta would set you back EGP 26, which is not so bad.
We also ordered pomme frites, and although they were thickly cut and very crunchy, sadly, they were too oily. They would do well to let the potatoes drain a little bit before serving them. However, seeing that there is a lack of good fries in Cairo, this is definitely the place to visit when you get a starchy craving.
One also has to mention the accommodating staff and the very artistic packaging of the products. The owner also intends on expanding the restaurant chain to include other types of food, and we hear that they will all be on the tiny island of Zamalek.