Monday 24 September 2012

Final night in Poitiers

Last night's dinner:

Sunday evening is not a good time to find an open restaurant in France. However, the bistrot directly across from the hotel was open. I was worried that the menu would be limited and that I would be rushed out so that the staff could get home early - quite the reverse. The menu was intact with extras on a blackboard and it was full with diners and new ones being welcomed until I left at approx 9.30pm.

As soon as I entered the place I knew that the evening would be a success.

I wasn't seeking to be treated like royalty but, frankly, I was as was everyone else there. No problem about being a lone diner and in fact a young woman was dining alone at the table next to me.

Some pictures:

The lady to the right had tattoos across her neck and shoulder!!

Kir cassis while browsing menu.

Went for a pichet of house Rose again.

Stupendous foie gras and chutney.

Star of the evening - see below.

Creme brulee
The star of the evening was the main course which was slices of local lamb (shoulder). There is a tradition in France (in my experience) of a main dish being more or less 90% meat and the vegetable accompaniments  negligible. I really like that arrangement. In the above case: two small carrots and a tomato and just a smidgen of mashed potato underneath the meat.

The evening was surprisingly convivial and I talked a lot to both the young woman to my left (who I think might have had MS because she left on crutches and did an amazing act using the crutches to get her jacket from the coat stand and then put it on - it was like cirque du soleil. And to an elderly couple to my right - all in my very, very slow French. There was a fairly loud Northern English couple in the restaurant further up to my left - perfectly amiable, with none of that loud English arrogance one hears of, though I've never seen.

Anyway, I felt at first that the elderly French couple were displaying disapproving glances towards the English pair. Therefore, I was slightly amused when the French woman let out a short shriek. Her husband had knocked over his glass of red wine whose contents went all over his wife's plate and surrounding table cloth. So much for French sophistication - or so I thought.

As I say, I talked much to this couple as the evening went on. It turned out that they lived in La Rochelle and had come to Poitiers for the husband's hospital appointment the following day. He suffered from incipient Parkinson's disease - hence the accident with the wine glass.

An excellent evening altogether.

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