This article is a call for immediate action to be taken by the international franchise: Dear Hippopotamus France, a horribly dirty mess represents your brand in Algeria! A disgrace, a shame to the hospitality industry. This place pretends to be a restaurant and it's far far far from it. It should be closed down and immediately.
We reach a dirty building, where an old sign of the place welcomes us. Faded away with time and pollution, the known well bright red Hippopotamus is now dull dirty pink, broken here and there. The place looks empty, no man's land where no sign of life, freshness and activity appears from the outside. Behind the doors, dirt haunts the place. Candy wraps and chewing gum papers spotted all over the place, yet kept intact by the staff as if nothing is wrong. Maybe it's part of the decor? We entered and stood up waiting for some action. No one even cared, no welcoming, no reception and no hostesses. We walked up to the upper level where smoking is allowed.
The upper floor is not even close to the standards of Hippopotamus. Dark, dimmed and dirty. The lights are divided into two different colors depending on availability. Yellow or white, it doesn't matter here. I felt like I was sitting under a Christmas tree. We waited and waited and no activity seemed to happen. It took 20 minutes for a waiter to approach us and see the disgusting table, teared place mats, oily napkins and some cutlery missing. For him it was normal, so we asked for it to be cleaned up. The table's state just blocks your appetite. Believe me that Le Petit Navire, the street food joint I tried is cleaner and healthier. Here comes a waiter, sad, unwelcoming and unprofessional handing us the menus, menus you really don't want to see or touch. Dirty scratched menus a kindergarten kid wouldn't look at. I realized that one of the pages in my menu was missing by pure coincidence. The waiter: No reaction!
The menu sections:
- Starters of the moment
- The beef
- The burgers
- The desserts
- Desserts of the moment
- The chocolate
Lunch started with a plate served with bread. Mechwiya the famous bell pepper salad with local bread called Matlouaa. With that an olive oil bottle made it to our table. Dirty and oily like the ones used in mechanics shops. Then we ordered some appetizers followed by meat dishes, which are Hippopotamus specialist after all. Plates were thrown on the table and deposited on the cutlery like if we were animals. Everything was dirty; the plates, the cutlery, the table, the cups. Tfeh!
The culinary experience:
- I ordered a Coca Light, received with an empty dirty cup imprinted with more than one finger, no ice and no lemon slice
- My meat was well done even though I ordered it medium
- I had to spit out many of the bites that were hard, chewy and inedible
- The French fries, cut last week and fried last night are shinier than a mirror. Awful and undercooked.
- Appetizers looked dull and oily: Yellow cheese fingers, chicken wings my dog won't eat and something that is supposed to be onion rings. Shrimp fryers are colder than ice cream. What a shame, what a disgrace! Am I expressing myself enough?
- Then, as no one even approaches our table, I went to pick up the sauces platter myself. I never saw a ketchup that disgusting in my entire life. Pink, watery and sweet, it may be everything except ketchup. The other sauces choices are too fatty.
What else can be said... In Europe, this restaurant would be closed by the health authorities before even opening...
I couldn't but continue the experience to the very end.
Lets order some dessert:
- The Ice cream is the cheapest quality available in Algeria, too creamy and too sweet, even the color is too light and dull
- The dough is too chewy and thick. Is it a French baguette or a profiterole?
- Whipped cream, the commercial type bought at any supermarket.
- The fondant, heated in the microwave is too spongy and very low in quality. It's chocolate is not tasty. The vanilla ice cream added on top is more of snow white colored frozen milk with no vanilla taste.
What I liked: NOTHING What I didn't like: EVERYTHING What should be changed: IT'S A LOST CAUSE
I am not sure if some people have already been poisoned at this restaurant. It is really unacceptable. Nothing whatsoever is right or has the minimal requirement of a restaurant. It's a farm house.