It can be a hard task to find a quiet café in Zamalek to study or do some work or even just lounge about with a cup of coffee or tea. Even though the tiny neighbourhood has been transformed into a bustling food court with all sorts of restaurants and coffee shops, the island suffers from a case of quantity over quality. Most places are either too noisy or they do not offer tasty options on the menu. This means that finding a place that marries the two aspects is quite the feat.
Luckily, the recently opened Kayan offers just such a place for one to eat, drink and maybe work or read. The small café on Adel Abou Bakr Street offers limited seating, just about six or seven tables. However, seeing that it is tucked away in a lesser known street, it is usually not that crowded.
Walking into Kayan, one is delighted with the simple yet chic interior design which copies the European style of street cafes. The menu is varied and offers a range of main dishes, salads, sandwiches and pastries that are both sweet and savoury. They also have a full range of coffee, tea and soft drinks to go with your meal.
We tried the Caprese sandwich, which is a white-cheese sandwich that is served in Focaccia bread with olives, tomatoes and a pesto sauce drizzled on top. The sandwich also comes with a side of a small tomato soup and a small Greek salad, both served in small glasses. The bread is freshly baked and tastes quite nice as it was tender and not at all stale or overly flaky. The white cheese they used was perfectly balanced as it was not too salty or too bland, and it complemented the olives and the pesto sauce very well.
The side of tomato soup was very tasty and given the size of the sandwich, which can be categorized as medium, the small soup was more than enough. The Greek salad was a bit too oily, but again the feta cheese used was right on the spot.
We also tried the apple and blueberry Danish pastry. The pastries are quite small, allowing you to sample more than one without feeling overly stuffed. The apple Danish was really delicious and tastier than the blueberry one, which was more on the tangy side. However, both were baked to perfection, as the pastry was flaky and fluffy.
Kayan is a nice alternative for the noisy cafes all over Zamalek and its tasty menu makes it a great destination for study sessions or quiet, uninterrupted meetings.