Our 3rd venture of our eating out in restaurants lining Sea Point Main rd started off in a very subdued mood. Helene had a knee operation last year and was bravely limping along trying to combat the pain. I’d just returned from a trip with the return leg taking 26 hours, including an 8-hour layover in Dubai – tried window shopping for not so cheap any more gadgets and tried dozing on one of the not so many loungers in the airport. I walked around a lot. With the current exchange rate, I couldn’t even afford “poor man’s first class” – a double whisky and valium. But hey, I can’t complain.
The one thing we’ve noticed is that many Asian restaurants line the Main Rd of Sea Point and for only our 3rd time out we were heading into our second Asian restaurant – the Empire Asian Restaurant. Helene and I shared the same mood as the weather, lightly grey, slightly wet and somewhat chilled but noticing the name of the restaurant and the 3 letters making up the word EAR…my mind started to wonder, yip it does that sometime.
I imagined the waitress starting off by saying, “you can sit ear, ear or ear” That would obviously be relevant if we were going to an English Pub in London and not a Chinese restaurant in Cape Town where not many people, in winter, speak with a British accent. Also, Ear, ear, ear would probably be “’ere,’ere,’ere” if you ‘re anal about grammar… I’m sure you get where I’m going with this, but hey, I needed a bit of humouring so I imagine myself replying, “now ear this, we’re cold, tired, sore and hungry so any suitable seating will do. Ok, I think I’ll stop with this now.
The restaurant was spacious and dimly lit. Clear plastic covers covered doily –esque tablecloths probably to limit the mess made by some who thought they could eat properly with chopsticks. I loved plastic table-cloths, there’s nothing to beat the feeling of peeling your forearms away from the table – similar enjoyment to someone continuously popping the bubbles on a sheet of bubble –wrap. I hate plastic tablecloths…#just saying!
My mood lightened a bit…
We were seated opposite the fish tank, swimming with Crayfish, and occupied by Perlemoen, legal of course. I wondered if these edible crustaceans realised that the photographing observers weren’t there choosing a pet. Come to think of it they were clamouring all over each other – wagging their tales and trying to look cute – possibly dreaming of being whisked away to some suburban, sea-water pond – with lots of space and a lot less artificial light – only to be petted and fretted over by some adoring child. Probably not. I presume they were just trying to climb the fuck out the tank so as not to be eaten!
I never really wanted to photograph my food, but maybe that’s just me?
Helene ordered a Jasmine tea and I ordered a coconut milk – heavy drinkers we are.
I kind of knew how the evening would pan out when I asked our local waitress Donna, what was in the Seaweed salad? The look of pure confusion said it all and all hope of clarification was lost when she couldn’t even muster up “seaweed?”
She smiled, we smiled.
We went straight to the mains.
I ordered the Phad Thai and Helene asked for the Cashew Nut Chicken.
The service was slow but while we waited, and waited and waited we were entertained by the live showing of Asian guests continuously photographing the obvious celebrity crayfish – I mean why else would they be photographing them as the scene was akin to the paparazzi. But they looked like they were having fun.
I can only imagine their holiday slide shows when they get back home excitedly pointing out all the sights, the things they saw and photographed…and then ate. But who am I to judge?
The food finally arrived, and the only thing to mention besides the inclusion of ample soya sauce is that the best part of the meal was the coconut milk drink.
It could have been our mood, though we were somewhat happier when we left. Possibly it is good but it just wasn’t the right night for us…