While the category encompasses a wide variety of restaurants, cafés, bakeries, etc., these expat eateries tend to share a few traits. For one, their offerings usually meld elements of two countries. Indeed, the owners are often aspiring and adventurous cooks from other countries who have made a new home in distant lands. A green chili-white chocolate-vodka cheesecake that I had in Mumbai’s Theobroma dessert café (run by sisters Tina and Kainaz) comes to mind, for example. Yum!
Second, their décor and ambiance offer a little taste of home and respite for the travel weary or home sick. They can channel aesthetics that seem to appeal to citizens of the world. At Yacout in Marrakech, for instance, I remember recalling flashbacks to The Park lounge in
More often than not, they rely on imports – imported food items, wines, and recipes. Even décor is inspired or borrowed entirely from far away places. In a sense, their offerings are real fusion food – melding local ingredients with foreign recipes or techniques, which are sometimes acquired with real effort. In Zanzibar’s Stone Town, for example, Amore Mio (see photo above) is a real labor of love run by an Italian family that moved to the East African island and set up a bonafide gelateria – with an imported gelato maker! In pursuit of such eclectic visions, great pains can be taken. In
But the most recent ‘expatterie’ experience I’ve had, which really inspired this whole entry, was a chic-comfy Peruvian joint called Cicciolina in the heart of
The décor in Cicciolina deserves special praise. The restaurant is on the second floor of an old colonial building, with a gorgeous bar bedecked in red flowers and hanging ornaments, and black or espresso tables, mirrors – very chic. Someone’s clearly put a lot of effort and love into the place. Perched from one of those corner high tables, I enjoyed a whole range of offerings – the Pisco sours are excellent, and the bartenders offer an informative intro to various types of the grape-based liquor.
I was so enamored with Cicciolina’s foods that we ate there three times in our three days in