Friday, October 20, 2006

Egypt : Fatour Buffet at Arrous El Nil

Arrous El Nil
Cairo Sheraton
Around 130 LE (130*8 INR or 130/5.7USD) + Taxes

Decided to take advantage of having arrived in Egypt during Ramadan & indulge in a Fatour buffet. This was the perfect way to experiment with the local cuisine without being stuck with dishes that didn't appeal to my taste buds.

Traditionally the fast is broken with Dates since the Prophet (PBUH) is supposed to have broken his fast with dates. So started with a dish of dried dates soaked in milk. Dates being very high in sugar content, the milk almost tasted like Condensed milk. Very tasty stuff. I would have had much more of this but the rest of the buffets Table(S) beckoned. There were fresh dates, dried dates, dates stewed with apricots which I passed over since I have already tasted this stuff before.

3 varieties of juices : Karkade, Kamar El Din & something else which are good too.

I moved on to the salad & dips section. Wasn't too excited by what I tried, but then I have never been a salad person. Hummus, tomatoes with a Egyptian dressing. Long brinjals sauteed in a local masala. 2-3 varieties of salads with bulghur (broken wheat) 1 spicy, 1 sour, 1 salty where just some of the varieties on display. Since today I was just trying out stuff, I was more concerned with taste than remembering the names or clicking pictures. Will give more detailed food descriptions once I'm more comfortable with the names.

Soups on offer were cream of chicken & beef consomme. These seemed more continental, but there was a dish with the main course with a very thin gravy of green leafy vegetables with chicken pieces in it which was of a soup like consistency. Which was kinda sticky (like okra/bhindi, once it meets with water) The stickiness (I can hear my nana saying "nyoli, nyoli" in Konkani) was a slight deterrent but the dish was reasonably tasty.

The main course had a variety of dishes on offer & I really freaked on these as they were similar in parts to our Indian dishes. A lamb with rice preparation & a veal with some seeds (the seeds when cooked are very like rice in texture) which were similar to Biryani. I loved the lamb with rice, it was high on tomato, but I still liked the taste. A lamb stew with vegetables. Steamed Couscous (like rawa/semolina) with a chickpea (chole) gravy. Roast Beef ribs (this was quite bland) Okra with beef in a tomato gravy. A filo pastry with mince, like a dry lasagna or a multi layered puff. Chesy pasta & another continental dish which I didnt even bother with. Oriental roast chicken (a liitle bland again) & one or 2 other gravies which could be eaten with the couscous or a rice & vermicili/sevaiyan dish (the 2 are just cooked together & served)

There were over 20 varieties of desserts. Cakes, biscuits, a vermiciilli & nut cake, honey soaked cakes, rawa based sweets, fresh fruit salad, bread pudding were just some of the stuff on offer. I gorged myself on them rationalising it to myself as a diwali indulgence & promptly came back to my room to take a nap.

Definitely worth trying out, if you aren't lucky enough to be invited to a locals house to partake of Fatour. Its normally served just past sunset (5:30 in this part of the world) till about 7:00 before the restaurant starts readying itself for Dinner

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