An Affair to Remember With Cairo’s “Batter” Half
I tried to walk by the large rectangular glass window without going in because I knew if I entered I would purchase something, even if I couldn’t eat it myself. I was halfway across the storefront when, out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a sweet-looking faux cake display on the other side of the glass. I turned to get a better look and became instantly distracted by some chewy and sticky granola bars on the counter. My gaze then drifted over to the cake fridges that harbored a handful of artfully crafted chocolate mini-desserts that looked so sinfully good. I mean the type of “good” you’d be willing to throw an elbow for.
So much for my efforts. Resistance was futile.
I stepped into The Batter Half & Co, located at 17 Mohamed Mazhar in Zamalek, and felt as if I had walked off the streets of Cairo into some posh European pâtisserie. With wooden paneling, clean mottled tiles, marble countertops and fabulous retro packaging it felt contemporary and ingeniously posh. The Batter Half & Co focuses on creating fresh homemade desserts (cakes, macaroons and mini desserts) with high quality ingredients. Not an easy feat for Cairo, but one the owners seem intent on seeing through.
And they haven’t disappointed so far.
I wandered from fridge to fridge and spent a good 10-15 minutes contemplating the time and effort that must have gone into these confections. I also used that time to feast with my intolerant eyes and chatted up one of the founders about his offerings. He outlined the ingredients used and explained how certain things – raspberries and red currants – were sourced from overseas (I swear he must have one hell of a connection in customs). For those of you with a sweet tooth and without any intolerances you have to give this place a go. While there are several gluten free options that will keep the GF intolerant set happy, the lactose haters will have to settle with the granola bars as their sweet source of comfort. Sadly, they’re they only item without dairy and even then, this Intolerant couldn’t try them as they contain another ingredient I’m highly allergic to.
Did this stop me from buying? Of course not. I had two different friends to visit that night so I selected slices of red velvet, carrot and raspberry cheesecake for one lucky lady and had some macaroons and the mango crème brûlée packed up for the other. The prices are on par with other chic dessert places elsewhere in Cairo (22 LE for a slice of cheesecake, 200 LE for a whole profiteroles cake, 5 LE per granola bar) and even if it is a few pounds more than the competitors, it’s worth the coinage. Somehow I couldn’t shake the feeling that every single item tasted as good as it looked.
I didn’t get to witness the orgasmic and revelatory reaction of the friend who received the cake slices, but I did get to be a part of the macaroon and brûlée experience. The macaroon feedback consisted of a couple of unintelligible grunts and an eyebrow raised mmmmmmm, which was translated for me afterwards as “these are freaking amazing.” I couldn’t help but smile.
That same friend tucked into her crème brûlée later that evening (which she had already tried at The Batter Half’s soft opening) and was so delighted she sent this text shortly afterwards:
You can’t really argue with that now, can you?