Saturday, 2 August 2014

A Number Two

We are often amused about the use of English in foreign countries. I know I am treading on dangerous grounds, being Dutch trying to write in English, but I will not be defeated by my own shortcomings.
A well-known blooper is that of a Dutch diplomat addressing his guests with the well-meant remark “I hate you welcome” (in Dutch “Ik heet u welkom”). The translations of English or American film titles for French cinemas into “English” is often also quite amusing: why translate “The boat that rocked” into “Good morning, England” or “Happy-go-lucky” into “Be happy”? One of my favourites is the recent slogan of a French supermarket chain : “Be simply, be happy!”. One does not make this up, does one?

2011 : during the renovations
I got a bit lost when Sue started laughing when I told her that a recently opened restaurant on the road between Cormatin and Cluny was called “The number two”, until she explained that it was equivalent to the Dutch expression used by children for “A big job”.
Anyway, this blog is not about big or small jobs, but about a new restaurant. We remember the “Auberge du Pont de Cotte” (Lournand, along the D981) as being a cosy, albeit a bit chaotic small scale restaurant, where one could eat an excellent workmen’s lunch at a very reasonable price. The parking was always packed with worker’s vans, in our view a strong recommendation. Some time ago the restaurant closed and after renovations of over a year the place re-opened, as a wine bar cum restaurant cum party centre. The reviews were not very good, and the lay-out was unfriendly, most likely because the owner had split the place up in a wine bar, a restaurant and a big dance hall.

July 2014 : re-opened
The price structure was quite steep, not being helped by the fact that on top of the price for house wine one had to pay a corking fee as well, even though one did not bring his own wine. We were not really surprised that the place did not last very long.
What did surprise us though was that soon after closure a new sign appeared on the wall, saying “New ownership, restaurant open”. We are normally not very quick when it comes to trying out new places, but when we had read the menu and had recovered from reading the name of the place, we got the impression that this could well be a restaurant which becomes rarer and rarer in the area: a simple menu during lunch, at a cheap price. So we skipped all the preliminaries and as we speak we are recovering from an excellent though simple meal. As far as we are concerned, a plat or menu du jour is a good measure for the quality of a simple restaurant.

July 2014 - the new resatarant part
In this case :
Menu du jour for € 14.00. Because there were two of us we could try different starters and main courses.
Starter : a choice between entrée du jour (salade chèvre chaude) and assortiment de charcuterie
Main course : a choice between plat du jour (magret de canard) and pièce du boeuf avec frites
Desert du jour : a choice between fromage du jour (3 different cheeses) and dessert du jour
Drinks : ¼ l of wine and a cup of coffee
The food was good; no culinary tour de force, but food of good quality. The portions were more than adequate, and the amount of customers so quickly after the (re-)opening of the place seems to be a good omen. For those who prefer to have dinner in the evening: the card offers slightly more expensive and extended menus for € 22 and € 32. The ambiance is simple and tasteful, even though I personally prefer the ambiance of the somewhat chaotic older French restaurants. However, part of the in my view somewhat sterile decoration can be blamed on the previous owner. The price/quality ratio is not dissimilar that of the original auberge. Click on the picture for a legible version of the menu.

Menu : click on the picture for a blow-up
As far as I am concerned : they should change the name of this place into “The number one”, at which I might add that I took my “number two” home afterwards….

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