16 - 22 March 2000
Issue No. 473
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Special Focus Travel Living Sports Profile People Time Out Chronicles
Its fleece was white as snowBy Injy El-Kashef
Eid time is a good time in all respects but one: the lamb situation. You do not have to be a vegetarian to feel out of place in an Islamic country during the Eid. There is, generally, little a non-lamb person can do to escape the whole craze but leave the country: the entire city smells of lamb for several days and wherever one goes a lamb dish is sitting on a dining-table. Since leaving town is not an available option, we decided to indulge in another kind of meat -- just to go with the spirit -- far from family settings where we would have been exposed to much unnecessary coaxing around the table.
We headed for Petit Palmyra, positioned opposite an open air restaurant that also goes by the name of Palmyra, although there is apparently no connection whatsoever between the two. Amazing coincidence. Petit Palmyra is cozy in a special kind of way; this impression is not due to the size of the restaurant or its layout, but -- come to think of it -- probably to the height of its windows. If one sits at the window, one is at once level with the crowds on the street, and separated from them. Some aspects of the interior are reminiscent of Paprika: the wood panelling, the windows, the steps leading down to the door.
A huge menu includes several sections -- Petit Palmyra is not just about kofta and kebab as many seem to think -- with many appetising items. We began with a Palmyra Fried Mushrooms -- which came piping hot and crispy and were plentiful, fresh and quite tasty -- tahina and salata baladi (with loads of onions). Thankfully, they had brought us enough bread and tahina to last us the time it took the waiter to deliver the rest of the goods. The service, one must say, is rather slow. We were starving by the time they brought the Trio Filet Palme d'Or (three portions of veal, beef and lamb served with mushroom sauce, green pepper sauce and mint sauce) and my Escalope Panée. A breaded slice of meat accompanied by spaghetti with bolognaise sauce was the most I could endure in the meaty Eid environment; nor did I regret my choice, for it tasted just as an escalope panée should (though the portion was too large) and the spaghetti was warmer than it looked.
As for the Palme d'Or deal, it's quite impressive. They were right about the sauces, which came on separate tray, while the dish itself did not seem overwhelming at all: the pieces of meat were small and, to my eyes, a trifle dark, although my dining partner swears they tasted just fine.
After sharing a small plate of decent kebab and kofta, we contemplated desserts. However, the waiter took so long to notice that we were ready to order that we finally made up our minds to grab an ice-cream at any street corner instead. Dinner was LE110.
Petit Palmyra, 27 Al-Ahram St, Heliopolis.
Tel 417 1720/415 6836.