|Leave Cairo at the door when you embark on Carnivore’s all-you-can-eat meat experience By Hana ZuhairIt is not every day you find a waiter in a zebra-striped hat cutting meat directly from a skewer onto your plate; unless you spend every day at Carnivore, the Trianon boat’s Kenya-themed restaurant.
Kenyan cuisine is mostly based on beef, and as a meat lover, I set out to try this all-you-can-eat extravaganza with its relaxing Nile view.
When my friends and I entered, the waiters made it clear that when we decide to put the little flag up on the table, it means we are ready to indulge dangerously and continuously.(Drop the flag when you need time to breathe between courses.) We settled into our bamboo chairs, briefly admired the wood animal masks eyeing us from the walls and got ready to eat until our stomachs hurt.
Carnivore does not offer a menu; it offers a stream of food paraded before you from which you load your plate. For starters there is an appetizing tomato soup with croutons.Even though I don’t like tomato soap, I enjoyed this for its light, yet rich zest. The croutons, however, were not crispy enough.
A two-tiered lazy Susan was placed in the center of the table.The lower tray held salads and the upper tray had dishes of exotic sauces surrounding a plate of fries. The fries were a bit greasy, but we were intrigued by some of the more novel sauces, such as the fruit salsa, mint sauce and Maasai sauce. The latter, named after Eastern Africa’s famous cattle-herders, tastes a bit like soy sauce. The staff advised us on which sauces tasted best with each type of meat served.
The waiters marched out with skewers bearing a variety of poultry and meat.There was chicken pre-dressed with lemon sauce, and spicy chicken Tikka that with some barbecue sauce had me licking my fingers. I also recommend dipping the chicken wings in the garlic sauce from the lazy Susan.
As first timers with ostrich meat, my girlfriend and I thought it was moist and tasty.But the finest of the poultry was the turkey dressed with fruit salsa, which initially has a sweet taste followed by a hint of spice.
The meat included an assortment of beef and lamb cuts, beef sausage, beef kebab and lamb chops.The lamb chops were my favorite, though I suggest eating them without the mint sauce. The sausage with barbecue sauce was a pleasant combination as well. However, I found the lamb cut heavy and seemed undercooked. Dry and lacking flavor, the beef cuts were no better.
We found the poultry better than the meat; it was lighter, more flavorful and richer.
The finale of this food festival is a drink called dawa, an Arabic word literally meaning medicine — a welcome respite for those who have eaten to the point of discomfort. dawa, as the restaurant claims, is Kenya’s national drink, and it is a thirst-quenching mix of lemonade, soda, brown sugar, ice cubes and a bamboo stick coated with honey used to crush the sliced lemons lurking in the glass.
Carnivore is definitely a noteworthy dining experience, but don’t go with high expectations for the meat. I would suggest going with several of your friends or with family.The outing costs around LE 200 per person, which is fair considering the limitless refills. Be warned, declaring your withdrawal is never encouraged at Carnivore.