Out of the blue
The blues seem to lift and the carbuncle sparkles, contends Gamal Nkrumah
Queen Tiye, masquerading as the Countess Morcaris, is enthused by the warmth of the welcome of The Blue. The maitre d' and a couple of waiters approach waveringly. The maitre d', looking remarkably like James Ryder -- the thief who stole the blue diamond -- gives Queen Tiye the goose bumps but only I can see. With a deep pomegranate garnet set in a silver, or is it platinum, choker, she turns all eyes.
She storms into The Blue bedecked in a mulberry tight-fitting décolleté cut to show swathes of shoulder with a certain French je ne sais quoi. But much to her chagrin she was momentarily upstaged by a little lost girl who also stepped into The Blue in what appeared to be a classic ballet bell tutu. Half goose step with a hint of Chuck Berry's duck walk, this little Giselle burst on stage doing a dance of sorts. Doing a kind of Kurious 1992 "Walk Like A Duck" in baby blue tulle, or was it muslin, I cannot tell.
Like a little Marie Taglioni in La Sylphide, our Giselle trooped out with a friend marching goose step as if in a military parade. She didn't much appreciate the bustle of being escorted out of The Blue. I suspect the psychological strain of facing all those quacks took its toll on poor Giselle.
Countess Morcaris stifles a sob and turns to me. "The Blue Diamond?" Sometimes she fails to grasp a question, or simply discounts it. This is precisely when I spot Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Stock as Watson seated in the far corner. There is Peterson, the doorman as well and Breckinridges, the man who sells geese.
And, Giselle, coming to think of it acting a little like that particular goose that everyone's after. She is wheezing like the one with the carbuncle forced down its bird's crop. She is whimpering now and stomping fiendishly much to the annoyance of Countess Morcaris, or Queen Tiye shall I say.
Kempinski Nile's Blue Restaurant glitters in cerulean chairs. "And, yes, there is a profusion of sapphire," Countess Morcaris shrugs without interest. She is looking sideways. To talk about a goose in a restaurant would be to kill the bird.
The waiters are larking about in the shadows of blinding blue. To maintain the Sherlock Holmes theme I choose duck, since there does not seem to be any geese in this particular Blue. The bird arrives. The intense burgundy colour of the dark meat, the densely textured flesh and the fat that bastes the breast is mouthwateringly enticing.
I remove the crispy duck skin. And Countess Morcaris quickly plucks it savouring every drop of dripping fat. The bird was accompanied with apples, red cabbage and chestnut stuffing.
Here we go again with Ryder lurking in The Blue. "The extra oxygen in the bodies of ducks and geese give the darker reddish colour to the flesh of the birds. Almost the strong flavour game, wouldn't you say?" Queen Tiye arched an eyebrow.
"Turkey and chicken, on the other hand, are rather tasteless, flavourless," she downs the Cape Bay Merlot. "Absolutely," I agree. I order a Waldorf salad -- crunchy apple, crisp lettuce and brain-like walnuts full of the goodness of unsaturated fat that bursts deliciously into ones mouth.
Queen Tiye opted for pan-seared beef filet with garlic pomme puree. They add an extra Gallic twist. The meat was tender and again melted like butter in the mouth. Caramalised pearl onions in red wine jus was the perfect accompaniment.
To tell the truth, this meaty dish is constructed for connoisseurs with exceptionally hearty appetites. The menu, a model of clarity, is unique in that in this boutique hotel you get to choose the dish you fancy and explain exactly how you want it prepared regardless of whether or not it is on the menu.
Countess Morcaris pins down one of her devilled lamb kidneys drizzled with deep dark red wine jus.
Kempinski Nile Hotel
Garden City, Cairo