Al-Ahram Weekly Online   31 July - 6 August 2008
Issue No. 908
Living
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Restaurant review:

No child's play

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with sushi on a hot summer's day by the Mediterranean, declares Gamal Nkrumah

The platter blushes with carnelian and ruby-coloured fish. Purple octopus blaze out. Still, that is a feast for my eyes, not my sons'. Parents may wish today's children joined the traditional family holiday pursuits but parents sometimes overlook the fact that their own tastes have changed somewhat. Take eating out, for instance. The average child on vacation by the seaside would hardly fancy sushi after a long and exhausting day swimming in the frothy Mediterranean and playing ball games on the beach and might instead prefer to have a calorie-laden meal before heading off for more games well past midnight.

A more sedate parent, however, lazing under an umbrella pouring over a gripping novel or engaging non-fiction might fancy a healthy sushi for a light dinner instead. Sitting on a bluff of rock overlooking the Mediterranean, chopsticks in hand.

Sushi is for adults. And, Mori Sushi, is one such eatery. For starters, it is not by the beach. Its location is decidedly adult. Tucked away in the egregious extravagance of the exclusive Club Diplomatique (Diplomatic Quarters or Diplomaseyin ) stretch of the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria -- better known to Egyptians as the North Coast -- Mori Sushi is a welcome addition to the array of eateries on Egypt's Mediterranean coastline. Spotted by those who want to stop by and drop in for something light and healthy, it is conspicuously close to the main entrance of the Club Diplomatique.

I treated my sons for a sushi dinner this summer and it was a disappointing experience. It made me realise that my children are hooked on games they indulge in online. Vibrant youth culture sadly comes across as utterly distasteful and there is not much we can do about it than digest it in hapless resignation.

Teenagers can be as terrifying as terrorists. Our children often want us to get off their backs, stop telling them about healthy eating and leave them alone to guzzle down fizzy drinks, devour unsightly quantities of French fries oozing with abominable oils, watch senseless movies and chat online.

The ambiance was business-like and it immediately made me realise with an awful guilty lurch that it was no place for children. Unfortunately there is an unbridgeable gap between what we, as parents, want our children to do and be, and what they themselves want to do and be. My preferred policy is let them be.

The fish is fresh, even in the sweltering summer months. There is a tradition in Egypt that goes back to the days of the Romans, or perhaps the Byzantines. The adage insists that fish in Egypt is only to be consumed in months which have an "r": fish, therefore, is not advisable in the four summer months of May, June, July and August -- the four months that are spelt without an "r". Be that as it may, I made it a point to try the raw fish at the newly-opened Mori Sushi restaurant on the North Coast.

"Can we have fish and chips instead? Let's try some restaurant -- maybe McDonald's -- in Porto Marina," ventured Youssef. "Actually I fancy a pizza, a nice seafood pizza," exclaimed Karim. "I'll introduce you to Miso soup," I suggested in hushed tones. "Yuck, what the hell is that?" We were obviously getting nowhere, or to be more precise heading for the warpath. "Seaweed and tofu," I whispered. "Aaggh," they yelled in unison.

Much to the consternation of the waiters, and my utter embarrassment, they pulled long faces and switched on their playstations, gameboys and mobile phones. "We'll wait till you are done with your sushi and Miso soup. Bon appetite," they shrugged nonplused. "Oh well, that makes for an exciting outing," I, too, shrugged. It is anyone's guess when children will be hooked on sushi. For the time being, the Japanese delicacy -- in Egypt at any rate -- has made a niche for itself on the North Coast.

Mori Sushi may not be on the beachfront and may not have stunning views of the Mediterranean, but it is a serene sanctuary for sushi lovers and as far as I am concerned is a most desirable adult retreat.

Mori Sushi
Corps Diplomatique
North Coast
Tel: 012 297 2222
Dinner for one: LE110

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