reckons Maadi's Cocoon is not exactly the 1985 science fiction movie classic
I closed my eyes and listened. All I could hear was the cawing of crows hovering overhead. Nestled among the lining of the Misr-Helwan Road in the leafy suburb of Maadi. Hideous skyscrapers obscure the verdant riverside panoramic views, but this picturesque spot has a discreet appeal.
Cocoon, a restaurant and café tucked away in a cosy corner of Maadi, which by Egyptian standards is considered an expensive area, features no aliens like its namesake, the film. Once upon a time, the gardens were intricately designed, but today eye-catching lush greenery is confined to a narrow strip of land fringing the banks of the River Nile.
Cocoon is on the edge of what is pompously referred to as Maadi Sarayat, the Maadi of Mansions. There are no skyscrapers there, but there is a profusion of flowering trees. The coffee in Cocoon was served in charming china cups and was accompanied by equally exquisite plates packed with chocolate-coated biscuits.
Sohour, as some people imagine, is not quite the leftovers of Iftar, the breaking of the fast. The menu is dramatically different, or ought to be.
Sohour is traditionally a light meal, nutritious enough to keep one going until Iftar. In Egypt, it is composed in the main of Egyptian beans, yoghurt and maybe a delectable dessert.
"I adore Umm Ali," Platinum Blonde ventured sheepishly. Umm Ali is a creamy Egyptian-style bread pudding, topped with nuts and finely grated coconut and raisins soaked in rich full-fat hot milk. "Just think of how calorific that stuff is," snapped Queen Tiye in utter disgust.
Platinum Blonde shook her head and sighed. "Perhaps it is best to heed the inamorata. She does have a point, you must concede," I whispered in her good ear. Queen Tiye considered the Platinum Blonde's behaviour as egregiously rude.
"Que sera, sera -- whatever will be, will be," the dejected blonde bellowed in utter frustration.
Platinum Blonde fancied herself a poet and a playwright. She went off to the apple green chairs and tables in the outdoor area, ostensibly to smoke a shisha, or hookah.
"Where did she go? For a smoke I suppose," Queen Tiye was now furious. "I thought the idea was to have a light meal and watch the Olympics games on Cocoon's big screens," she fumed.
Queen Tiye summoned the headwaiter and demanded to know where "that buxom ash blonde was," she spewed out in exasperation. "Look at her sitting under that gaudy Ramadan lantern. She is the very despicable spectacle of a dishwater blonde," the pitch of her voice raised to a crescendo.
With his big fat fingers he indicated the outline of a voluptuous woman. "Yes, that sow over there," Queen Tiye quivered.
From bistro sets to benches, Cocoon's outdoor furniture is not quite as elegant as the cream and mahogany, or dark chocolate brown décor of the air-conditioned indoor area. Truth to tell, Platinum Blonde did look ridiculous in her vermilion frock, a floral pattered décolleté dress designed to display her cleavage, lucent and luminous under the lantern.
"That's a cheap ball gown," Queen Tiye snarled. "I do not approve of low cut dresses in Ramadan," she hissed. Platinum Blonde was peering with piggish passion into the special set menu of the Cocoon. "That's for Iftar, not Sohour," Queen Tiye snatched the menu with the ferocity of a wild cat.