“Light and Shine” : My Blanca Experience

Tucked on the sidewalk of Omar Abdel Aziz Street, this new hidden gem is about to steal your heart away.

Blanca Cafe Bistro is a calm haven in the heart of busy Hamra, designed to be have a Parisian minimal style with a soft “feminine” touch. With its white marble, warm wood tones and light pink hues, this cafe sure ticks the ultimate aesthetically-pleasing box.

From its decor to the music, this little gem ensures you a homey feel and a calm retreat from the noisy and draining hustle of the city. One thing you can’t miss is the unbelievable attention to detail.

There are small floating shelves above a table, holding letters that make up an inspirational quote or uplifting phrase to energize your day. You can not but notice it as you walk in, and the letters are scrambled every day to create a new sentence. The music blends well with the atmosphere. They play customized playlists, created by a renowned DJ especially for Blanca, and each playlist is tailor-made for a different time of day, to match the unique moods. In the middle of the space is a big marble countertop with pink high stools for those who would like to grab a quick coffee. Also on the marble, there is always a big dispenser for free flavored water. No, not just water with a single slice of lemon, but clearwater topped with a generous serving of up to 6 different kinds of fresh fruit, including strawberries, lemons, oranges, apples, mint… It is really more like a sangria; delicious, refreshing and even free!

The cafe also has a big menu of very unique items. The dishes are international and even mix between cuisines in one plate. You can not find anything you have seen in any other restaurant before. The menu is indeed very creative and is supposed to offer you a special sophisticated food experience, both diverse and satisfying. Their incredible breakfast menu is served all day long, so you can enjoy the fluffiest pancakes and richest avocado toast any time of the day. The flavors within each plate work amazingly well, although the food combinations are suspiciously weird.

Have you ever craved poached eggs with Lebanese makdous and Labneh baladi? How many times have you thought of pouring honey over your fried chicken on a waffle? Or ever grabbed a kaake with Halloumi, feta and onion jam?

Hold on! Don’t start scrunching your nose and looking at me like this. You sure can’t imagine what your new obsessions will taste like. Not to mention, Blanca is fueled by female power. From the creative chef behind it all, to the desert master, women are never disappointing your taste buds, Moving on to the deserts, the bistro displays a bar of  freshl daily-baked goods by the creative Lara Ariss.

There are often vegan, gluten-free or low-sugar options, all equally delicious, from cakes to cookies. Some are even packed and wrapped for you, in case you’re craving a sweet bite on the go. On the weekends, Blanca has an open granola bowl bar option, with a yummy granola blend and several fresh fruit options in addition to honey, for 8$ a person. It’s a great healthy option for a productive Saturday morning.

They also have an open alcohol bar on weekends for $20, if you want to grab some mimosas on a Sunday morning and unwind with your friends. These brunch options are available every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am till 3 pm, in addition to their regular but not-so-normal menu.

All of their plates and servings are very generous and filling. Just because they are giving you a high-quality refined food experience doesn’t mean it’s going to eat up your wallet and leave you hungry. Their food presentation is near perfection, so you will end up with a treat for the eyes, the Gram and the stomach no matter what you pick.

Of course, no coffee-shop exists without any actual coffee. Be prepared to sip on one of the richest coffees in flavor. Blanca uses a Kenyan and Ethiopian blend for their American coffee and relies only on a specific 100% arabica brand for all drinks. A simple cup of coffee turned into a heart-warming experience; with every cup you order comes a big leaf-shaped delicious cinnamon cookie, freshly baked on the daily by chef Ariss, with a teabag-like branded piece of paper printed with a small inspirational or motivational sentence on one side.

The waiters serve your coffee order with the quote hidden, and it’s for you to take a moment and unveil what is written that day, different from your friends’ coffee even, almost fortune-cookie style.

In short, their motto “light and shine” pretty much sums it all. Blanca is the warm home that has your favorite foods with a twist, the restaurant that serves you all things fresh, balanced and mostly healthy, the inspiring space that allows you to make hours of work pass by unnoticed and the go-to gathering place for friends away from the overwhelming buzz of the world.

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