We stumbled upon Simit Saryi by accident, lost in New Cairo’s maze of unfinished streets and roundabouts. In many ways, unless you’re from the area, this is the most probable way you will come across this delightful Turkish pastry shop, which serves up delicious breakfast and coffee, because it’s tucked away inside a Mobil gas station.
It’s a shame; Simit Sarayi, located behind 90 Street, is a great spot to grab a bite before a long commute into the city for work.
Simit Sarayi specialises in Turkish baked foods and pastry ranging from simits to wraps and pitas. It also has a breakfast menu and a “kitchen” menu offering pasta and Turkish grilled kofta.
Simit Sarayi offers an excellent range of pastries that look and smell delicious the moment you walk in. We first tried their eggs with Turkish pepperoni (EGP 25) which came with a bread basket and fresh vegetables. The eggs came very quickly and were tasty. The pepperoni, which more closely resembles a Turkish version of oriental sausage, was slightly spicy with a kick that saved the dish from being bland.
We also tried their borek with minced meat (EGP 12.90) which tasted quite similar to an Egyptian goulash. While soft and fresh, it was not properly heated and some parts were colder than the rest. For dessert, we had an excellent chocolate cake with coconut sprinkles (EGP 33) on it and a mocha coffee (EGP 16).
Because of its unassuming location, the place was rather empty. While you listen to a questionable lineup of Turkish pop music, you can see cars coming in to fill up on gas while you dine.
Nevertheless, the owners of Simit Sarayi have managed to create a pleasant ambience. It is spacious with an area dedicated for smokers and features comfortable chairs, LCD screens flashing mouth-watering pictures of its menu items interspersed with pictures of Istanbul, and the owners keep Turkish pop songs playing. Overall, we found the place to be clean and comfortable with nice touches, such as lights in the shape of seagulls, so very characteristic of Istanbul’s Bosphorus, dangling from the ceiling.
While Simit Sarayi certainly works as the kind of place you stop to get a quick bite while on the road, it would have also worked perfectly well as a standalone in Zamalek or Heliopolis. We’re puzzled why the place chose this specific gas station in the middle of New Cairo, and whether it has doomed itself to being classified as nothing more than a gas station food stop.