Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Surreal Senara

More than a week has passed now since my return from Berwari and the opening of Senara Restaurant and Piano Bar. Just before going to Berwari, Sarah and I went to check out the soon-to-open establishment to see if it had opened somehow without our noticing. It had not. We walked through a lovely garden and approached the tissue-box shaped building with its oddly juxtaposed grandiose ornate curving staircases. Those two staircases meet at the entrance on the second floor. Nobody was there to stop us, so we went in to explore. Bizarre! There was an aqua-colored cigar room with overstuffed furniture that looked like it had been dropped there to create an underwater Ralph Lauren showroom. We then entered the piano lounge. There was a multitude of glasses hanging upside down over a very (for Erbil) modern bar. Comfortable looking sofas were arranged into cozy seating areas and the atmosphere was imposing but pleasant with skylights overhead and big windows. Not at all like anywhere else in Erbil. As we sank into a sofa, a manager came over to see what we were doing there. He called another manager on his mobile, a Canadian Lebanese woman who I had met prior to this at Bakery & More, and she arranged for us to be given invitations to the opening.

Sarah, Mu and I went to the opening last week Sunday. We ascended those ostentatious stairs amid a huge throng of people while loudspeakers in the garden played something resembling the Chariots of Fire theme song. We went straight for the bar and ordered glasses of Moët et Chandon (we suspect that much of the alcohol sold here is either fake or otherwise compromised as it is cheap and doesn't taste as it does back home) which were not only real, but free! As you can see, the wall color (and decorations) could be better, but who are we to complain? But complain we did - firstly about those over-the-top staircases. But Mu did not look amused and summarily informed us that in the initial stages of planning, the restaurant was actually to be a branch of Revan Turkish restaurant and that he was the original architect (to recreate elements of the mother restaurant in Istanbul)... and in fact it was he who was responsible for the staircases. Oops. Anyway, to make a long description short, we enjoyed drinks, food and them more drinks in the cigar room (as the music everywhere else was too loud - they had a Lebanese singer for the opening).

Since then we have been back once... Another surreal experience. We were the first diners in the HUGE restaurant/bar and there was an army of wait staff waiting to greet us. We sat and ordered. There were enough waiters for Dr. G to have his own dedicated ashtray-emptier. Unfortunately, the meals didn't come out at the same time, some of the dishes were incorrect and the steaks weren't all cooked as ordered... but when they finally got the orders right, they were pretty good. How fabulous to get a steak medium-rare (blood is harram) accompanied with a sauce made with whole-grain mustard (nothing but French's in the supermarkets)and followed with real coffee (not Nescafe).
Dr. G with a view of the bar behind him.
And Mu in front of the baby grand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally, a clear photo of Mu! ;> SD