Thursday, July 10, 2008

les petit oignons

I can’t ever go back to les petit oignons.

it wasn’t the food – the food was very good and just what I needed today – honest, well executed food. I’ve had a very frustrating day where many things were talked about but very little achieved. today also seemed to be “would-strange-men-please-speak-to-me” day. having very politely but firmly refused the offer of a lift from strange man #1 who momentarily held up traffic and opened the door to beckon me in while I was waiting for the tram, I thought my strange man ration for the day (and indeed for the year) must be all used up. did he honestly think I was going to get in the car with total stranger? but alas, I was accosted all through dinner by strange man #2, the head waiter at les petit oignons who thought it would be a really good idea to keep asking me out for a drink and left his mobile phone number on my receipt. just great. I just need to turn of the big neon sign sticking out of my head that’s apparent to these strange men.

so that’s why I think it’s better I not return to les petit oignons lest strange man #2 recognises me and accosts me again. which is a shame. because I really liked les petit oignons. I had even been planning to go again in three weeks when the changed the menu – which, according to strange man #2, is what they do every three weeks or so, reflecting the seasonality of produce and the spoils of their regular supplies trips to france.

I started with a gratin of seafood – a little le crueset cocotte of scallops, prawns and cod in a light cream sauce over ribbons of leek. savouring the firmness of the fresh seafood against the smoothness of the cream sauce and ribbons of leek that while watching the patter of rain through the windows as it rained over the restaurant terrace, it was a very comforting dish.
Time Out remarked that the portions here were as they put it “invigorating portions” which I found to be a very fair remark as strange man #2 brought my main course with a warning to eat slowly if not I’ll never finish it. It was a very hearty plate, filled with many happy pieces of lamb fillet, roasted to a happy medium rare pink with a rich red wine gravy. the cake of charlotte potatoes with its tender scallops of potato slices baked with cream and the braised and then panfried chicory with its bitter sweet tinge completed the happy family.

I started talking to the jar in which my desert came in. I couldn’t help it. it was very good and I thought I should let it know how good it was. and maybe subconsciously I was hoping my strange behaviour of talking to my food would put strange man #2 off. anyway, back to the jar. it held a very lovely tiramisu “in the style of les petit oignons” as the menu put it. I’m sure the description sounded a lot prettier in french. a layer of strawberry liquor soaked sponge, lashings of strawberry juice laced mascarpone, topped with a thin sprinkling of muscovado which had been grilled to a delicate crisp. it was very good and strange man #2 was slightly visibly shocked at the spepd at which I had eaten my way through it.

oh well. maybe it’s for the best, my reluctance to return to les petit oignons – with food like that I’d probably have returned much too often than would have been healthy and start looking a little onion myself..


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