Anyway at the Bistro Le Grand Mystère, a slightly touristy joint in Bordeaux, they had some nice dishes on offer and despite being given the English language menu (how dare they!?) I ordered my grilled lamb chops in French - côtelettes d'agneau grillée. The lady bartender/waitress quickly whipped away the offending English menu and replaced it with the French version. She then clambered up onto my table, kicked off the cutlery, and proudly sang the French national anthem. Not really. However, she was doubly impressed that I knew what a persillade was (a mix of finely chopped parsley and garlic) and when my chops and chips eventually arrived à table the côtelettes were indeed persillé. (sprinkled with the persillade).
My half dozen lamb cutlets were very tasty and cooked pink in the middle just as I had asked. The chips however were a bit of a disappointment – not that hot, limp and tasted uninteresting. On the menu it said that the lamb's provenance was from salt meadow Paulliac lamb. Raised on coastal soils and grasses pré- salé suckling lamb has a strong reputation for being a really good class of lamb and honoured with the Label Rouge. This is mostly due to its diet having fed on Atlantic grasses rich in salt and iodine.
I bumped into Pierre the waiter from Au Bouchon des Chartrons chilling out at the bar in this restaurant and when I asked him about the beef steak I had enjoyed there the other day he explained that there is a lot of good and valued beef in the Gironde region and neighbouring Gascony and the Blonde d'Aquitaine, Boeuf de Challose, Bazardaise and Garonaise all have terrific flavour. My steak was from a Boeuf de Challose apparently. He seemed very impressed that I (as an Englishman I suppose) should even ask. So much for the unrefined Rosifs hey!
|French butcher's bike?|
As I paid my bill I heard a French music artist on the radio. This was Arthur H one of my favourites. After picking the lady bartender up off the floor (he knows French music as well!!!!?) she wrote down some other musicians I might like – la Grande Sophie – Camille- and Les Françoises “Je m'appelle Charlie”. At least I still have the bit of paper from this exchange even if I no longer have the bill receipt.
When I left the Bistro Grand Mystère I felt almost French! Give me another 'Ein -e ken!