It is not always sunny in Philadelphia; it rained heavily that day. Our New Year plans were looking exciting as we had a big group of friends come over from Boston, Michigan and Baltimore. When all of us had started partying from the day before itself, it was only obvious that nobody would wake up on time and when they would, they would have a sumptuous appetite. Instead of choosing an ordinary place to meet our hunger, a friend suggested Bishos that served Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine and that was undisputed.
Setting out in the rain felt surprising yet fresh since it was unexpected for temperatures to be anywhere above 45 Fahrenheit in December. But, this made the drive more relaxing, especially watching the rain drops hit the sun roof above. We reached here shortly after 20 mins and those living around Mayfair and Winchester Park would find it closer. It also neighbours Roosevelt Mall. The place looks as ordinary as a cafe with a quick pick up and just a little seating around. But, the aroma floating from the kitchens made complete sense to be there.
The menu had Mediterranean names of what we call Shawarmas, wraps, platters, kebabs, appetizers, and desserts like pies including the most commonly known baklava. After reading the menu almost thrice, I ordered Alayet Bandoura which is a mashed roasted tomato in butter garlic sprinkled with parsley with a Falafel wrap while others on the table ordered variety of kebab platters with lamb and beef, shawarma wraps and kebabs on skewers. Everyone was clearly starving, for when the food was ready, they dug right in. Their sounds of pleasure derived from that decadent food mixed with the cultural music in the background, brought a part of Middle East there right then.
The tomatoes were buttery and tangy with sweet and spicy tones of roasted garlic. It made a perfect combination with the Falafel wrap because of its pasty and dry texture. The garlic sauce and tahini served on the side was equally tasteful. I could also taste the kebab on the other platter that was well done with still some meat juices locked in with the spices. The chicken shawarma was dressed in pickled onions, garlic sauce and a generous helping of shredded roasted chicken drizzled with authentic Mediterranean spices I cannot exactly describe but the blend could easily make one close their eyes.
Such was our brunch or maybe we were lazy to actually have any breakfast that day. After eating to our heart’s content and a little beyond our digestive capacity, we planned to ease it out with some bowling. Everyone knew dinner was not coming any time sooner and when it does, it would be after each of us had been buzzed for the night of the New Year.