From one of the best restaurant in Calais, to one of the most disappointing food experiences. EVER. That's saying a lot, especially since I'm usually easily pleased with whatever's placed before me. Ok, now you've read the verdict, you can skip this post if you want to. Or, you could read on to find out why...
To begin from the beginning - Manbacon and I, together with his colleague J, went over to Dunkirk and Calais for a daytrip last Saturday, with the intention of stuffing our faces with fine French food and returning home with plenty of wine and cheese in the boot. We detoured to Calais in the hope of enjoying a late lunch/early dinner at Histoire Ancienne. It was, unfortunately, closed at that time of the day (around 4pm, I think), like most of the other restaurants around the town centre. We wandered around for a while, until the guys spotted a crowd of people seated outside Le Centaure, and decided to eat there.
|Fish and chips|
The next warning sign came when the fish and chips arrived - huge plate, but a tiny piece of battered fish clinging sadly on to the side. Well, quality over quantity, as they say (and we thought). However, that old adage proved untrue in this case - quality AND quantity were both lacking. In fact, J said that the fish tasted like the chef had purchased some frozen fish from Iceland (the supermarket, not the country) and quickly defrosted it.
Eagle-eyed readers may also notice some strawberries lurking among the salad leaves. What's all that about?
The tongue-twisting potjevleesch arrived on another large plate, tantalising glimpses of meat and aspic peeking through the mountain of chips. It looked good. Until Manbacon pushed aside the chips to reveal...a whole lot of chicken and no other types of meat. Which was not at all what was promised on their menu - and not at all what potjevleesch is - a terrine-like dish with three or four different kinds of meat. Three or four? Nope, only one here...I think the chef may need some lessons in counting. Cold, aspic-covered chicken was just not mindblowing enough for any of us to forget that they had left out the other promised meats.
My salmon ravioli arrived with little mussels, as well as a little physalis berry sitting on top. The ravioli tasted like it came from a supermarket packet - tough dough, filled with a generically pinkish paste inside. Just generally unexciting. I passed most of it off onto the boys.
I wonder now if the kitchen had just purchased most of the items from a supermarket, and just heated everything up when the orders came through? It certainly tasted that way. The whole meal was less than mediocre, and certainly left us walking away feeling grumpy and disappointed.
11 Place Armes