European Vacation – September 25/19 – Menton – Part 2 – Artful Dining

Arriving at our lunch stop, something seems different and we can not quite put our finger on it. Then it hits, the outside tables are gone, the interior lights are not on and the door is……LOCKED! Mon Dieu! What do we do? This is the very reason I booked a reservation for lunch. It is late in the season and if the restaurant can not be guaranteed clientele at lunch, it may not open.

Then I remember. This owner has two restaurants in the area, one on each side of the street. Turning around, I see the second restaurant and entering the space, we spot Christian, who greets us warmly. This restaurant is small and not nearly as quaint as the one across the street. Perhaps, it is true what they say. You can never go back.

We sit down and decide to make the best of it. The menu is confusing and in French. Our French is poor. Christian’s English is non existent. We muddle our way through, as J & F grow more and more hesitant. At last, we settle on a 4 course meal plan accompanied by a bottle of wine. J & F still do not look convinced, but, then the white Sauvignon wine arrives and we start to relax. Shortly thereafter, food starts to flow out of the kitchen….

… an appetizer plate of beans, pepper strips and olives…we enjoyed this, but our companions were not so sure…

…then a huge serving of raw veggies and bagnacouda (local warm anchovie dip), fresh baguette, zucchini flowers, cucumbers, carrots, celeriac, fennel, radicchio, lettuce, and pepper strips…J and F were still unsure, but soon started enjoying the veggies with a bit of dip…

…a palette cleanser of lemon granita made from the local lemons…this was delightful…

…followed by the main, flamed skewers of beef, sausage, lemon and veggies OMG, so much food, but so delicious…

…then it was time for the dessert choices of lemon or chooclate mousse and coffee. We all wanted the lemon, but, alas, there were only 3, so my Patty opted for the choclate version. They were both delightful and the cappuccino with a heavy dusting of cocoa was among the best so far on our trip.

Now, this is where it starts to get hazy. On our last visit, Christian brought out a series of small housemade liquers and played a guessing game with us. This time was no different,, but this time, we had trouble guessing as he brought, first watermelon…

…then thyme…

…and lastly dill liqueur…

At the end of the meal, our guests rating of the restaurant and dining had risen from 5/10 to 7/10 to 10/10 and all (except for me) posed with Christian

It turns out, you can go back, but you should never assume things will be the same. At 131 Euro ($196 CAD) for the 4 of us, complete with wine, liquers and coffee, this gourmet meal is very affordable and worth every penny. A true local Menton experience.

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