Thursday, July 17, 2008

Testing: Trianon

Mystic Mo and I are two lawyers in our mid-twenties who share an office in a law firm in Cairo. An all-consuming topic of concern for Mystic Mo and I from 12 pm onwards is what to order for lunch every day. Offices all over Cairo resound with this concern, I feel, so we'd like to be a resource to those privileged thousands who order food every day. Also, ordering is a whole different exercise from dining in, and ordering from work an even more delicate affair because you must consider messiness, post-food sluggishness, and aroma/onion breath issues.
Our parameters:
  • We work in Zamalek.
  • He is a vegetarian about 80% of the time, and I consent to lunch on vegetarian items once in a while.
  • We always order together.
  • We have a subsidized office cafeteria.
  • Egypt has pretty low quality restaurant food, in general, and Egyptian cuisine is really nothing to write home about.
  • Everything delivers, all the time.
Today's entry:


This is the first time we've ever ordered from Trianon. Their menu on Otlob looked impressive and vast. We gathered around my screen - indeed, there was such wealth that I was induced to get up on several occasions so he could get a good look. I don't know why he couldn't get this look sitting on the desk. I scroll up and down slowly! Neither of us likes relinquishing control of the mouse.
After long argument I ordered a Trianon Royal Burger, touted as being "beef burger + beef bacon + tomatoes + cheese + pickles, served with French fries", at L.E. 26.75 (although on the menu it said L.E. 26.95). He ordered a haloumi sandwich, alleged to be "fried cottage cheese + tomatoes + watercress + herbs sauce, served in a ciabatta loaf" at L.E. 13.95. We had ordered crispy fish fingers with tartar sauce at first, but a very melodious woman called and told us they were out of all seafood.

The food arrived after an appropriate time. We gave them points for including such items as knives, forks, salt, pepper, and napkins, all of which cannot be taken for granted by Cairo's vendors.
To our amazement, the extra ketchup I requested was brought, and was copious, and a container of mayonnaise was also delivered, unrequested. This mayonnaise proved home-made (restaurant made?) and was profoundly delicious, even to a mayonnaise hater such as myself. It was lemony and fresh and light.
Mystic Mo's haloumi sandwich was reportedly "delicious" and "incredibly good", and he looks forward to ordering it again, despite its minuscule nature. We're going to point that out next time actually.
My burger was square, on square foccacia (I think). The bottom bun was a bit soggy. The beef bacon was of the British variety: large, fatty and not crispy. Which is how I like it. The burger was large, and the meat substanial.


They sent us a menu, but that proved to be a dessert and new items only menu, at which we chorused "lame!"
The haloumi sandwich was MINUTE. A toddler could not have found it satisfying. A yellow lump of something was next to it, which I assumed was potato salad. Mystic Mo's verdict on it was - eloquent arbitration specialist that he is - "it wasn't great".
The burger was, and Mystic Mo agreed (I prevailed on him to suspend vegetarianism for the sake of academic documentation and the edification of others), on the kofta side. Decidedly so. He even said it tasted exactly like when his mom would say, "why are you ordering this garbage! Ta3aala, I'll make you a better burger". Also, it is now sitting like the proverbial rock in my stomach and climbing ever higher into my diaphragm. It did have rocket (gargeer) instead of lettuce, though, which I appreciated as a despiser of lettuce. It came with fries which were truly soggy and mushy, although in good quantity. I'm not opposed to soggy fries, but Mystic Mo took some and then he came back and swept them off his plate and onto mine, so disaffected was he. Our neighbour S, who came to dally with him, delicately ate five fries with a fork and made no comment.

Mystic Mo's ranking: 9 on the guilty – not guilty scale. It's a lame scale, we know. Especially since we don't even do criminal law. But my only other suggestion was the injustice-justice scale, what with the scales of justice, but that is just painful.

My ranking
: 7. But then I didn't taste his sandwich.