There are plenty of English eating places in Luxor. Many are run by English people. Although there are differences in price and quality, nearly all of them offer variations on a meat and two veg theme. Tutti Fruitti is different. By day it is an English tea room, open from coffee time for drinks and light snacks, but from lunchtime it becomes part tearoom, part restaurant.
When we heard about an English tea room opening in Luxor, we envisaged a Victorian theme with dainty tables and chairs and even a little lace. We were very wrong. Even in its new creation Tutti Fruitti is more akin to a modern theatre coffee/snack bar, with a loud black and white theme, than a country tea room - but it works.
Black and white decor at Tutti Fruitti
There is a cosy corner with soft couches so you can relax whilst you take your refreshment, or you can sit up to black over white cloth-covered tables and black wooden chairs, black and white seat swabs over black and white tiles floor.
The black and white theme continues to the wall decorations which are prints - black and white of course - of stars of the black and white era, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.
The menu offers tea, of course, and also a good range of coffees, shakes, juices and soft drinks. As well as the sweet pastries (LE19 - LE28) that you would expect in a tea room, there is a good variety of sandwiches in the LE30 - LE38 range. LE10 for cup of tea is fair enough. At LE16 for a cappuccino, LE15 for a fresh juice, LE12 for a Nescafe and LE8 for cans, most drink prices are around or slightly above average. You can also order food to take away, which is handy if you are flying back and have chosen not to take an optional meal on the plane.
In its lunchtime-onwards restaurant guise Tutti Fruitti offers main meal choices mostly in the LE50 - LE65 range. There is a steak and few - say eight or ten - fish, meat and vegetarian alternatives, plus, on Sunday, a chicken or beef roast for LE55.
Although beers and wines are not on the menu, they are available and will be offered verbally. Tutti Fruitti also provides alcoholic drinks to take away, either direct to customers or to guests of a neighbouring restaurant that is not licensed but allows brought-in drinks, so it can get a little bit like a take-away off licence sometimes. Although the notice board outside Tutti Fruitti announces that it is part of the Edris Group (which owns the Tutotel, restaurants beside the Nile, jewellery shops etc.), in practice it is run by an ex-pat Brit with UK and local help.
It does seem to be a bit of a refuge for British ex-pats, so you may find a group of friends around one of the tables or ensconced on the sofas, but one of them will break away to take orders and provide for guests. The take-aways and the friendly conclaves do add a bit of background bustle, so if you are looking for a quiet, sophisticated evening meal Tutti Fruitti might not suit.
Having visited regularly from the early days, before the Tutti Fruitti sign was even up, through to date, we have never had any problems with the food or drinks which have always been fine. We did wonder, in the earlier days, how Tutti Fruitti would get on as a tea room on its own. Our reviews then suggested that a better variety of meals would stand it in better stead, especially with competition for the light food and refreshment customers from the Secret Garden and Oasis Cafe, both nearby.
We think that the relatively recent expansion in offerings will help, but now that the number of tourists has reduced there are new challenges. Tutti Fruitti offers an informal eating place with a changing menu depending on the time of day and food that is fine, although by no means the best we have experienced in Luxor. Tutti Fruitti deserves to succeed for the flexibility and effort but we think friends, loyal guests and people who take to the Yorkshire friendliness over sophistication will continue to be the target market.
There is a downside for non-smokers. Smoking is allowed and the group of staff and friends seem to smoke quite a lot, so despite the air conditioning, smoke is noticeable. That aside, it is a pleasant bit of Englishness, a few doors from Arkwrights 'British' supermarket, along the road beside the St Joseph hotel.
Updated April 2013
Prices at April 2013