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The simple things

If you are one of those people who think crêpes are small, fanciful treats, think again: what you get at the Crêperie Bretonne is no joke, and should not be taken lightly. Because the Nile Hilton Annex's Food Court is divided between half a dozen kitchens sharing the same sitting area but offering entirely different cuisines, one is likely to underestimate the quality of the food created behind those closed doors. Such a big mistake! At least as far as the crêpes are concerned, we were more than pleasantly surprised.

The sitting area is clean, simple and reminiscent of large airports and long waiting hours. The tiny menu is divided between the galettes (savoury crêpes) and the sweet crêpes proper, with a dozen options on both sides. Very fresh orange (LE8) and mango (LE10) juices arrived while the crêpes were being prepared and soon enough the goods landed on the table. Three black ceramic dishes were laid before us, containing huge, almost intimidating, galettes.

The Forestière (with sautéd mushrooms, beef bacon and lettuce) at LE12 is probably one of the best on the menu, along with the Atlantique (with smoked salmon and white wine sauce) at LE25. The first, about 20 centimetres in diameter with sides folded, conceals within its centre a heap -- a heap -- of sliced button mushrooms and beef bacon, the latter in such great abundance that the mushrooms do not stand a chance. The lettuce mentioned in the menu, however, is no more than a garnish -- and a very good thing too.

The Atlantique was rolled up in three separate pieces with as much smoked salmon as the galette could accommodate. With half a lemon (I thought they could have offered more of that) to squeeze over the Atlantique, there is very little more one could wish for and actually get.

As for the Super Complete (with Emmental cheese, smoked turkey, egg, mushroom, beef bacon and lettuce) at LE20, it is perhaps too much so. The different ingredients do not retain their individual personality but blend into a hodgepodge which, although delicious, leaves one somehow unfulfilled as one tries to capture the separate tastes but fails miserably. The egg was not a very good idea either, especially as it arrives half cooked, with most of the white not yet quite white but a transparent gelatin colour (not very healthy). The indisputable victory goes to the Emmental cheese, which gracefully and unobtrusively managed to gain its independence from the rest of the medley.

Now for the sweet crêpes: nothing and no one could ever beat the Crêpe au Miel (honey and almonds at LE9), which is a clear proof that the world is a good place. Even if the almonds are not as abundant as one could have hoped, just the taste of the honey on the hot crêpe afflicts one with a sweet and cruel, irresistible sinking feeling. Ambrosia could not taste any better. Unfortunately, the Vannetaise (with pears, chocolate sauce and grilled almonds) that followed ruined the honey experience, proving yet again that simple is good, rich is tricky.

La Crêperie Bretonne, Food Court, Nile Hilton Annex, Tahrir Square
Tel: 578 0444

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

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