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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Who has stolen my Bordeaux brasserie? Call the armed police!


Rick Stein in his great TV series 'French Odyssey' from the 1990s once recommended eating at a railway station brasserie for good food at very reasonable charges. I tried this out on my previous visit to Bordeaux in 2008 and ate at the Entrechamps brasserie at Bordeaux's main SNCF run railway station the Gare St Jean. It turned out to be as he said so this time round in 2015 I thought I would try it again.
 
Entrechamps brasserie at Gare St Jean 2008

But what do you do when someone has run off with your brasserie and all is confusion when you expect to see an eatery where no eatery exists? And what on earth are all these new places? And soldiers with machine guns?

Unbeknownst to me the whole station is/was being massively redeveloped; the areas above the platforms are an organised mass of aluminium scaffolding and it looks as if the station has been stretched lengthwise and new eateries are now in place including (I am truly sorry about the next swear word) a McDonalds! I ran as quickly as I could hobble past that one.

Le Grand Comptoir

Totally gone is the old style Entrechamps brasserie and in its place there is Le Grand Comptoir where I eventually sat to eat. It was all rather smart noir et vert and decorated in the 'by the way we make wine in Bordeaux' style nouveau. Compared with the old brasserie it was decidedly modern and cavernous and very professional. The young coloured guy who was my waiter couldn't have been more welcoming. Whilst I sat waiting to order there were armed police and soldiers both male and female walking amongst the railway travellers and a slightly hypnotic display was promoting a sci fi film starring George Clooney and a startled woman who kept appearing in and out of a field. It looked exciting and was opening in France the day after I was about to depart. Merde. The English title is Tomorrowland. I think the French title was something along the lines of 'In The Pursuit of Tomorrow'.





There was quite a lot of choice in the food and after some consideration I ordered the fricassée de poulet aux olives et citron confit avec riz basmati. It was agreeable enough and came with a cloth hat containing some bread. I wondered if I was supposed to wear it at a jaunty angle during my meal. Well, cher reader foreign customs can be confusing and I wouldn't want to stand out. After I had finished eating I nicked the menu from an empty side table for future reference. I don't think the machine gun toting armed police saw me but if they ever come knocking at my front door in the UK I will feign total innocence.

The crème brûlée à la vanille was passable. You see mes amis sorry to go on but I needed this menu otherwise all the accents on my written version of crème brûlée à la vanille would have been a mèlange of type script faux pas, n'est pas?. Even as I look at the words I am struck by the impression that several simplified flying insects are attempting to touch base on the top of several letters. You must see that too, oui? One even has a hat. If you squint it could even be grey.
 
fricassée de poulet  with grey hat

 

Well suppose it beats fond childhood memories of British Rail stale sarnies. Au Revoir Entrechamps et Bonjour Le Grand Comptoir.

"Stolen menu? What stolen menu?"
 
#Bordeaux #BordeauxFrance


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