What Happens When Two Libyanists Go Out to Dinner…
They eat a crispy Kadaiffi for dessert! Yes this is actually what happened when I invited Will Raynolds, the renowned expert on the preservation of Libyan architecture and historical monuments, out to dinner at Barbounia. We decided to look at the Restaurant week menu, and for dessert found this:
Although we were uncertain if Qadhafi’s remains were still in the meat locker in Misrata we were quite curious as to what a Crispy Kadaiffi might be. The waitress informed us it was fried shredded phillo dough made into a crispy pastry. We asked her why it was called that. She said she didn’t know but that the dessert chef would visit us.
When it came out it looked like this:
The Kadaiffi is perched above the ice cream and fascinatingly it sits atop pure green and yet if you push it, red goo oozes out. We were rather shocked to find this out: After this riveting culinary and cultural experience, we spoke to the dessert chef who explained that a Kadaifi is a part of a Turkish dessert (Greek version is kadaifi) and both are related to or derive from the Palestinian/Lebanese Kanafeh. You can see this on Wikipedia here. And amazingly there seems to be a loose connection to Mu’ammar himself. The Kadaifi is the wirey fried curly filo dough bit which is only part of the larger dessert. And it looks something like Qadhafi’s hair! Lastly, in chatting with the dessert chef we learned that he has cooked special ‘Libya themed’ dinners for interested patrons. So combine that with Barbounia’s Old Cataract style interior Mamaluk arched ceiling and its incredible wine list of over a thousand bottles and it should be every Libyanist favourite restaurant in the Union Sq area.