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Squid and skid marks

May 3, 2014

The Auberge St Donat is one of my favourite restaurants in the world. At first sight this may seem a curious choice. Much of it is set in a car park under a plastic cover, with the old parking bays visible in places beneath the tables. It offers a set menu each day. There is no choice. You get a cold starter, a hot starter, a main course, desert, coffee and, crucially, a quarter of a bottle of wine for a recently increased price of 16 euros. The fussy eaters amongst us tend to check the menu beforehand and ask for an alternative to the main course if the one offered is not to their taste. I prefer not to look and then try whatever is presented. I admit that, in the past, I have been presented with some courses which were not to my liking. Pigs trotters come to mind as does a type of brawn in a kind of green jelly. It is very French, wholesome food but, by the very nature of the menu being set, there is always a danger that you may happen across something you do not like.

That Nice Lady Decorator does not enjoy the establishment or rate its output as highly as I. In fact she has previously sworn that she would never set foot in the place again. However, time heals and when a gathering as large as yesterday’s (13) developed, she was persuaded to overcome her qualms and join us. It was supposed to have been a boys lunch, but in the end there were 4 girls in the party, but gratifyingly, two Currencies Direct clients.

The Decorating Person is not usually a picky eater but there are some things at which she will turn up her nose or become violent. Top of that list would by squid and pasta. It all started quite well with a nice hard-boiled egg salad for a starter, and I liked the home-made spring rolls which came next. She was OK with the salad but not convinced by the spring rolls. The problem arose when the main course arrived. Squid with pasta was about as unfortunate a choice by the chef as could be imagined. “Why have I got a plate full of tentacles?” she asked.

I think it is fair to say that she will not be persuaded again to join us for lunch there. In fact I am glad that there was not a dumb waiter in the restaurant otherwise she might have been tempted to get into it (as had happened the night before at the Chinese in Valbonne) and remonstrate with the cooks.


dark chocolate desert, not skidmarks

So after a long siesta, we awoke hungry and headed into the centre of Valbonne. With some rain around, we decided not to go to the Cafe Des Arcades, but to go to the much more up market Auberge Provençal across the Square on the first floor, where the food is very good, the ancient interior has been beautifully decorated and the ambience is very French. In fact I would say that it is my favourite restaurant in Valbonne, but not somewhere one would go every day. My lamb was excellent and The Decorators seared tuna a delight. A much more satisfying experience than had been the case at lunchtime.

There was one moment of controversy. Unusually I decided on a desert, which given my new sleek frame as a result if that 5:2 diet I felt that I could risk. I chose a chocolate dish with a name I cannot recall, but when it arrived, with some nouvelle cuisine designed chocolate smeared across the plate in what I thought was an attractive way, That Nice Lady Decorator ruined the moment by suggesting that it looked a bit like the skid marks one may find in some (not my own, obviously) underpants. It is my picture today. Despite this clear attempt to deny me pudding, I ate it all.

Chris France


One Comment leave one →
  1. helen permalink
    May 3, 2014 9:11 am

    She could’nt abide lunchtime squid
    & at dinner was ready to rid
    you of your underwear
    How could you go there
    Please get rid of that skid”
    & you did …….


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