Thursday, November 27, 2008

El Pannello Cafe

I had just got my son back from the barber, after a rather close encounter with the barber's scissors, the result of which was a rather close cropped haircut, much to my son's dismay, nay agony! Much angst was directed at a heartless mother who'd made him part company with his lustrous locks!

To make up for that I decided to take him to El Pannello Ceramic Cafe where he could paint for all he was worth and we could grab a bite to eat as well. I had been reading about the cafe ever since we came to Cairo, and had even safely kept a cutting of its ad in the Egyptian Mail. However, like may other items on my "to do list", this too had remained undone. But I was about to remedy that!

The Cafe has two branches - one at Heliopolis and the other at Mohandasien. We decided to go to the one at Heliopolis.

As you walk into the cafe, there is a shelf full of painted and fired ceramic items in myriad hues, all on sale at a fixed price of LE 35. I guess these are things that people painted but never came back to collect.

As you walk into the dining area, there is a big shelf covering an entire wall which is stacked with all sorts of objects in clay that have been fired once , and, then dipped in distemper.

They are a lovely white, and, you can choose from a variety of shapes & figures - a Santa, reindeers, snowmen, a mexican figurine, cups, plates, tiles, a pharonic can turn the figures over to check out the price underneath. A pharonic head would cost you LE 145, mugs range from LE 30 to LE 50, a plate could set you back by LE 120...

My son chose an astronaut! This is what it looked like before it was painted!

Next you've got to choose your colours. You can choose any 6 out of some 15-20 odd colours that they have. They have a plate fired with all the colours that they have on offer, so that you know what these will look like once the object has been fired! The cost of the item includes the cost of the colours and firing. This is my son busy figuring out the colours that he wants for his astronaut.

Having chosen his paints, now came the fun part. While we waited for our food, my Van Gogh got to work! Though given his current style of drawing . painting, Kandinsky would be more appropriate!

The food at the Cafe is quite nice too. The menu is extensive, offering a reasonable choice, even for the vegetarians. My son and I ordered some Morzzarella sticks (LE 15 ) and Spring Rolls (LE 12.50) to share as starters. Son also decided that he was hungry enough to wolf down a Spaghetti Bolognese (LE 25) while my mother-in-law decided to be safe with a club sandwich (LE 24). My greed getting the better of me, I ordered a cheese mozarella sandwich (LE 13).
There were a number of special platters with veal and chicken on offer. It sounded tempting especially since they are served with Basmati rice, curry and mashed potatoes! But we had already placed the order!
The starters were nice, and, the portions of the main entrees really large. Neither my mom-in-law nor my son were able to finish their main courses.

While we ate, Van Gogh continued to paint furiously, and, at least for the moment forgot about his haircut!

Watching him, I was inspired too, and, decided to paint a long mug. Unfortunately, I droped two blobs of paint on it, and, the guy at the counter very helpfully offered to fix it! Unfortunately, that was the last I saw of the mug! They spent half an hour hunting for the mug subsequently, but I fear, in their enthusiasm to help, they erased the entire mug instead of just the blobs of paint, lol!

Barring this, the service is quite polite and efficent, and, the food quite nice!
The Cafe hands you receipts for your pieces of art, and you need to collect them after 5 days, during which they fire and glaze them. So shall send my driver to collect them sometime next week!
We had great fun at the ceramic cafe, and, ended up spending 3-4 hours there instead of the 1-2 hours that we had envisaged. My son enjoyed himself, and the rather sensitive topic of "haircut" was forgotten, at least temporarily!

El Pannello Cafe
2 Omar Ibn el Khattab Street
Haroon Rasheed Square
(in front of the English school)
Tel: 22417603

12 el Mahruqi Street
from El Batat Ahmed Add el Aziz Street
Tel: 33038696

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?