Thursday, May 10, 2018

A little touch of France chez moi ... Hourrah!


Hello! Yamba calling …

What does Yamba not need? Oh there are lots of things it does need, like a Hospital and a taxi service and an optometrist and …

But it really doesn’t need another coffee shop. Or another good restaurant.

However, in the last year it has, guess what, got both of those. I’m not fussed about the coffee, I’ve got Main Beach Kiosk and Sandbar within metres of my home. But food? That’s something else.

I became a ‘foodie’ – ie someone who eats food for the pleasure of the food, rather than to fill a hungry hole – during my time in France. Educated by the late great (rich) Gerry Bordman. Now… I’m inexorable.

Back to Yamba. When I first came to live here I was delighted by the number of good restaurants within walking distance of my home. What is now called Indian Fusion and the famous Beachwood Café (get those peppered chicken livers back on!), plus the splendid Barbaresco if someone had wheels … enough for any man.


Several hundred metres up the road/hill from me is a location which once housed ‘The Kiosk’. The heart of Yamba’s shopping and eating. Now, it’s been developed (well, what hasn’t) and currently houses four restaurants. I’ve been to three of them. It starts with an ‘Italian’. No good to me, no ravioli. Me no like. Next the cheerful Chinese. If you’re feeling like a Chinese, OK, but the loud unmusical muzak ... no. Then there’s a new burger bar. Don’t eat ‘burgers’: great chunks of white bread and indeterminate meat? No.

And then … the newest. A French(ish) – they don’t claim it as ‘French’, merely ‘Frenchish’ -- restaurant.

I went and and looked at the menu. No tripes à la Niçoise, no soupe de poisson à l’ail … ah! But a petite bouillabaisse … ooooh ..
They were booked out. Bah!

Six months later, my friend Robert said let’s go the ‘the French’ (as it's known, its official name of French Pan Tree being too cute and off-putting) for mussels night. Yeh. Mussels? I come from New Zealand where Marlborough mussels grow to magnificent size … Well, they were midgets by Marlborough standards, but sweet and tasty, well cooked and sauced, and served with a delicious cider … I was happy!

So, last night, having worked and walked hard all day, I decided to treat myself to a nice bit of food. Real food. So I got my walking stick out and ventured forth into the dark (our street doesn’t have lights!) and up the hill. And I came to ‘restaurant alley’. I wobbled past the Italian, the Chinese and the burger bar …

I had the most delicious meal. Really. Delicious. I started off with the petite bouillabaisse. Well, I can remember weeping over my first, excellent but too huge, bouillabaisse at Villefranche-sur-mer in the 1980s … nowadays, particularly … this is my size! Sweet – poisson, moules, écrevisses – not too huge, and splendid.

I couldn’t go home yet. That needed … ah, yes, a delicious bit of crottin de chèvre … and, really? Home-made pâté? Wow! Charlie the chef and Antonio the man-in-charge looked after me … and, yes, I often have my (French) dinner upside down! Who wants to be conventional?

Boys, you gave me a splendid night. So splendid I even forgot to take photos! Hey! You’re 400 metres from my home … I wish I could eat chez vous every night.

Charlie, les tripes à la Niçoise, ça ce fait comme ….. ahhhhh …..

PS the photos are from my second visit, with family, a few days later ... photo credit: Renee Fahey

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