And now for something completely different.
Luxor has plenty of restaurants competing for 'evening out' clients, amongst which the well known Snobs and Lantern are not many paces away. There are also plenty of economy restaurants, such as Ritze and Maxime. There are Egyptian restaurants, Indian restaurants, Chinese restaurants and fast food restaurants. But there are fewer casual eating places where you can eat a full English meal but don't have to be too worried about dressing up or minding your etiquette. Deans describes itself as a bistro rather than a restaurant and fits into that group.
Deans is in El Rawda El Sherifa Street, opposite the Lotus hotel, where you will also find Lantern (next door), Aisha and Snobs, amongst others. It is a reincarnation of Tramps, once part of much-respected Snobs but now British-run by Dean (who used to run the now-closed Queens Coffee down the road). The mixture of the Snobs cooking legacy and the British casualness works if this is what you want.
When we first visited Deans it was lunchtime - or brunch as Dean calls it. Brunch runs from noon until 5pm and the same menu can be used for children's meals after that. The small 24 seat bistro was laid out much the same as it was in the pre-Dean days, with wooden tables dressed in green checked cloths and paper napkins. On the right as you enter is the counter beyond which is the open cooking area. It all seemed to suit lunchtime.
Evening meals are generally a little more formal, so we wondered how it would appear for the evening clients. Exactly the same as it turns out. The casual regime continues throughout the day, so you can eat at lunchtime, in the evening, or both, and be equally informal. This will suit clients who are happy to be addressed across the room, checking on their order or offering more chilli with the sauce. In other restaurants the query would be raised a little more discretely at the table, but no ceremony here.
Whenever we visited we had the impression that many clients were loyal regulars, to the extent that the room often had the atmosphere of an English family kitchen-diner where friends and neighbours had popped in for lunch. And Dean himself, who is usually in evidence taking the orders, or cooking, or both, could have just popped in from the garden, often in shorts and flip-flops. The other waiter is casually dressed in a more traditional way and the chefs are also very visible and smartly clad in more formal chef regalia.
Drinks are very competitively priced at LE6.50 for a can or LE8 for a fresh orange juice and although not on the menu, beer and wine can be offered. But what about the food? Excellent. The menu is not huge but in addition to the items listed there is a blackboard outside with daily specials. Don't worry about remembering it. It will be recited when you get in. Between the blackboard and the printed menu there is a fair variety of mostly British fare including burgers, baked potatoes, pies (chicken and vegetable LE65) and excellent steaks and curries, all well cooked and well presented. Accompanying vegetables are cooked well and plentiful, too. The steaks are good, and at LE68 with sauce (LE63 without), only a pound or two above typical Maxime prices but more than a few poundsworth better. Soups are LE20, which is a bit steep for a restaurant of this kind; LE9 - LE15 is more like it nearby. Most desserts are LE24 - LE27 or LE20 just for ice cream - again, rather more than the competition, but there are some choices you don't see much elsewhere. Depending on the daily specials, these may include sherry trifle, plum pie or lemon meringue pie. Overall, prices are a little higher than the obvious competition - there is certainly no discount for the relaxed setting. The same applies at brunchtime. Omelettes at LE30 are as much as a main course in some restaurants, but you can be sure to enjoy it. Less expensive egg on toast at LE14 are available for breakfast or for those who want a lower cost snack, and a fillet steak sandwich for LE35 if you like something more filling
Dean does allow smoking throughout the restaurant. In fact he smokes a lot himself. There are air conditioning units, but the smell of smoke can become quite noticeable, especially now that most visitors will have become used to smoke-free indoor spaces.
If white table cloths, waiters with bow ties and attention to etiquette are too pompous for you, and you just want honest to goodness British-type food without the ceremony, and don't mind paying top whack for it by local standards, and smoking, Deans is certainly worth a try. On the other hand, if Dean's individuality doesn't suit or if you think that at these prices you should have a little more sophistication, there are plenty of options within a few metres.
Review updated October 2014
Prices at April 2013
Tel: (002) (095) 2371030
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