Al-Ahram Weekly Online
14 - 20 June 2001
Issue No.538
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Current issue | Previous issue | Site map

Flat as a pancake

Injy El-Kashef chickens out

There's nothing like a good crêpe on a hot summer night -- well, there is, actually, but never mind: a crêpe will do just fine.

Tasters looks just like hundreds of other café-restaurants, with the typical open-air area, wrought-iron chairs, tiny marble- topped tables, tinted-then-lacquered wood and big healthy plants. It does not, therefore, look like anything special, but is acceptable in its banality.

When I got there, my friend was already digging into his shisha (LE1.50) as if his life depended on how much smoke he could release with every drag. A quick and frothy Banana Juice with Milk reminded me that my stomach had actually been empty since I graced the world by awakening that morning. Our third party soon joined us, but the look on her face said, "feed me first, then we can talk." Things were already taking a turn for the absurd, and the only way to end it was to place the orders. Our waiter was nice but, goodness, how imposing! He was so relentless in his attempts at forcing a certain chicken dish on us that we ultimately, well, surrendered. One Tasters Crêpe (with béchamel, mushrooms, cheese and chicken, LE9) frightened the wits out of us. Its size, composition and presence on the plate all seemed to be saying "you think you will eat me: ha! Let's see who will eat the other." Really scary. But my friend had had such a long day that she just attacked. I was calmly enjoying my enormous Mushroom and Cheese Crêpe (LE 7) when she suddenly burst out: "Listen, you're having some of this, and if you don't like it you're having some more." Honestly: absurd or not?

Let me clarify an important point, though: both crêpes were very good, the batter was fresh and baked to the right degree, the filling was abundant and tasty -- nothing wrong with the food, but it was too much for a normal human appetite. While our friend awaited his promised chicken miracle, he went on about how he desperately needed to relax after a hectic week. The girl just grabbed her organiser and shot: "This will relax you. Let me read you my To Do List for tomorrow." No, really, totally absurd.

The chicken (LE18) showed up as late as the rest of the order (this is turtle's corner, not springing bunny -- and they don't win the race at the end, either). We all had to taste it after the waiter's eulogy and the unanimous reaction was positive, though I didn't see anybody falling off a chair. Anyway, if you want to try it, forget finding it on the menu because you won't. Just mention chicken and the waiter will be on his knees, begging for you to order "a very special dish...you'll love it, etc..." Our Sambousek (LE8) and Mushroom Salad (LE11) were so late that we just had a taste, approved, and asked for a doggy bag.

Go on a day when you're so tired nothing makes a difference, not even the shisha guy with the bad attitude.

Tasters, 52 Ahmed Orabi St, Mohandessin.
Tel: 3041128

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