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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

"Adonis? More like bloody Hades !": a tale of a meal in a Lebanese restaurant in Nice

 I was hankering for some Baklava when my BF asked me where I fancied having lunch, last weekend in Nice. I suggested "ADONIS" as we were heading in the direction of the Old town and the Cours Saleya. We had eaten there before and the service wasn't great nor was my suggestion Du jour but I did remember that the desert menu was copious and filled with the sticky,sweet goodies Lebanese desserts are all about and just perfect with a fresh pot of mint tea. And did I mention my hankering?...
There were a few people eating on the terrace,enough to indicate that it was busy but upon looking indoors where there was no one, not enough to indicate that they were overwhelmed. We chose to sit indoors(hesitation from waiter and first scowl of the day from the manager) for the a/c and to get away from the hustle and bustle created by the " Marriage a Minute" festivities happening in front of the restaurant, at the town hall. Lunch and a show was perfect but from a distance.
Not so much as a welcoming smile from manager as we sat down and were handed the menus. I had noticed how surly he was the first time we ate there and  had hoped that he would have gotten over it whatever it was by now...Apparently not. My BF decided on the chicken shawarma platter and I wanted something "light" (if that isn't an oxymoron when Lebanese food is concerned!) so that I could have dessert. I saw "the vegetarian dish" liking all the suggestions there except for the falafel. I never eat the falafel on these dishes and thought why waste a falafel when I could have say...a sambousek (meat or cheese filled samosa)? I asked the waiter and he replied that he would need to check with "Le chef". There was I thinking he would consult the chef in the kitchen when lo and behold the manager came flying at me like a bat out of the eaves:
"What is the problem? What is it you want?"
"I don't like felafel...I simply would like to know whether you could replace it..."I replied surprised at his outburst.
"The restaurant is full, we are very busy...we can't waste time changing things on pre pared dishes! What dish did you ask for, vegetarian? What dish??"the man was pent up anger in rubber soled shoes.
"Stop!" I exclaimed. "Fine! You don't have to say another word..." A simple "yes" or "no" would have sufficed.
Smarting, he walked off. I was boiling with anger....we could have left, but I hate to make a scene and frankly was too hungry to move...yes,yes...I know.
He came back to take down our order, trying for polite and mild mannered but failing..." Do I have to explain Bamieh (Okra) to you...or are you familiar with it?" My cold blooded look had him check his attitude.... I was giving him the cold shoulder frozen and double dipped in dry ice treatment...and it seemed to work.
The food was good, my Okra was sublime with just the right amount of coriander and garlic, the labne (thick yoghurt to be served with a trickle of olive oil and finger licking good..)was perfect to scoop up with the hot pitta pockets and the meat sambouseks...yummy. My BF was in food heaven  with his shawarma platter as well as a dish of "Soujouk"(little lamb sausages in a heavenly tomato sauce)and as long as the "chef" stayed away from us...all went swimmingly.
After we finished and my BF went to the restroom, the manager ventured over to remove the empty plates and try his hand at small talk. One word : Useless .
We did have our baklava and ate it too, along with a portion of freshly made "Ishta": little blini like pancakes with a cheesy, chewy interior all drenched in thick syrup that makes your teeth scream and your stomach cry out for more.
We paid and left, thankfully service is included in France otherwise he wouldn't have gotten a red cent as a tip from us.
The food is good,the service is terrible: the manager needs to check his irritability at the door and deal with the scowl....Check TripAdvisor...I wasn't the only one to complain about the weird service at this otherwise delightful restaurant.
Will I return? Definitely NOT...
.....who needs a stomach upset before even getting to the food.

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