Were I to open a restaurant (and if I did not call it French Kangaroo, the name I’ve given my kitchen), I might call it Cobra. As it happens, others came up with the idea first. Someone is operating a Thai restaurant by that name near Brussels, Belgium.  Someone else (I assume) runs Cobra Restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. There was a restaurant called Cobra in Konakilty, Ireland, but it has changed hands and is now a Pakistani restaurant called Marhaba. In Jakarta, Indonesia, there are/were at least two Cobra restaurants: King Cobra and Cobra Snake. There’s even a Cobra Restaurant in Prague, Czech Republic. And there’s a place called Cobra Club in Brooklyn, New York. There are others. My idea for Cobra is far from original.

My Cobra, though, would offer an assortment of dishes from around the world, many of them promising a venomous, spicy bite. I’d serve Ethiopian standards awash in awaze, Caribbean dishes flavored with habanero peppers, Moroccan fare laced with harissa, and Mexican food punctuated with jalapeños. In recognition that many people are not fans of spicy foods that bite, I would offer tamer versions of my dishes, as well. But the core reason for Cobra would be to offer meals designed to satisfy the taste buds of people who crave spicy foods. And fine libations. Craft beer. Decent but inexpensive wine.

My restaurant would not allow patrons to carry guns; even if the law required me to allow patrons to carry weapons, I would not allow them to enter my establishment. If someone were to enter my restaurant with a gun, even after being told weapons were not permitted, there would be hell to pay. Upon learning that they had broken the rule, I would have them dispatched with a steel pipe to the head and they would end up as nourishment for stray neighborhood cats and dogs. Now THAT would make my restaurant unique. But I’ve strayed off track, haven’t I?

My Cobra would be aggressively civil, treating every patron like a friend. I would insist on nothing less from my patrons; enter my establishment and be prepared to engage with everyone. Sharing dishes would not just be encouraged, it would be required.  Well, some people might not want to try your jerk chicken; they would not be forced to eat what you’ve offered to share, but you would certainly be expected to make the offer.

I suspect I would find rules imposed by health departments, taxing authorities, and the State in general to be more onerous than I’d be willing to abide. So the likelihood that I’ll actually open Cobra is exceedingly slim. And not just for those reasons. I’ve discovered over the years that I have an allergy to restrictive schedules, even self-imposed restrictive schedules. But wouldn’t it be fun to be the trigger for a place like Cobra as I envision it? I’d enjoy launching it, setting its direction and establishing a framework for its operation, then leaving to let someone else with more patience and discipline than I manage it.

Oh, one more thing. Successful completion of an exam would be required for admission; would-be diners would have to prove their ability to understand and accept the value of human decency and diversity; that is, no members of Congress would be permitted to enter my establishment, nor would 45 and his wished-for French loser, Marie le Pen.

Okay, then. Back to reality and a late breakfast meeting with a fellow Villager.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Cobra

  1. Marhaba, sir, and thank you!

  2. Love it! I would completely enjoy this place you speak of! And, the word Marhaba brings back memories of my times in Pakistan, as it was the common greeting. Thanks for that. I had forgotten… Cheers!

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