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12 June, 2003

Wild thrills of a carnivorous feast

After a six month hiatus, it is time to catch up on village gossip again with Abu Dhabi's second highest British expat. Off to Retro, Mina Siyahi.

To avoid a thunderbolt from the Great Expat God in the Sky, I am obeying the latest hadith of the Expat Cult, the Atkins diet. Despite thousands of desperate palefaces fleeing carbs in every direction, the majority are still look tired, fat and sad. Never mind.

Courses one and two are easy - chicken and steak. The refusal of pudding causes a sharp pang, as does rejecting the freshly baked foccaccia (refined flour) and balsamic vinegar (sugar). Dipping a finger into a small dish of olive oil is less than appealing.

The 2nd Highest is suffering a dilemma: his daughter is increasingly devoted to an unsuitably fundamentalist Levantine gentleman. Next week the 2nd must fly to meet this man's parents. We devise a number of schemes. I suggest he arrives with a small Gideon bible, placing it quietly on the dinner table before the meal. A puritan collar and large crucifix around his wife. Followed by a lengthy and noticeable show of Christian devotion before raising fork.

As we leave, abandoning the five home made truffles is frankly a bereavement. We donate them to Jumeirah friends dining on an adjacent table.

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