Sunday, 14 September 2008

Birthday dinner

None of the pictures I took at Mon Plaisir turned out last night. I need a tripod... so you have to put up with one of my birthday champagnes for illustrative purposes. I've got to put away that box of napisan - it sneaks into so many pictures!

So - with 3 friends we went to Mon Plaisir for my birthday last night. There was a fair bit riding on this, because we have been raving to 2 of these friends for about 18 months about how good this restaurant was.

In a nutshell, the food surpassed expectations created by many fine meals; the service was not good.

We started with a bottle of Besserat de Bellefon rose champagne - one of our friends was running late, but she doesn't drink champagne so it was a pretty safe bet. After a considerable delay the champagne arrived after she did and we were unable to get any other drinks until after we'd finished our starters...

I had the most magnificent tomato veloute for my starter. It has replaced the pappa de pomodoro I had in Florence last year as the best tomato soup ever. But I still feel a bit annoyed, because a couple of people ordered oeuf en cocotte, which came in their own adorable little clip-seal jars.

There was another extraordinarily long wait before the main courses arrived. We'd sat down at 7.30 and at 9.30 our mains were nowhere to be seen. Irritating, as another friend was joining us for dessert and she ended up having to sit and watch us eat.

My pumpkin and scallop tarte tatin was outstanding though. An extremely crisp puff pastry base, with a thick smear of pumpkin puree, discs of beautifully browned scallops and a pile of wild mushrooms in the middle. I would never have thought to combine those elements, but it was just gorgeous in taste and texture. I think my husband thought he did pretty well with his cassoulet of lobster, shellfish and pigs trotter though.

I chose a fig and almond clafoutis for dessert. It came in a little cast iron pot, but it wasn't particularly hot. Still, the combination of preserved figs and almonds is always a winner, and the plain milk icecream on top was just what was needed. I think I need another go at clafoutis. Unfortunately a couple of people had ordered digestifs instead of dessert, and they were not served until after we'd finished, and one didn't turn up at all.

One of the waiters realised that the service had gone pear-shaped and we weren't allowed to tip and one of the bottles of wine was free, so excellent response to a bad situation, but I would still have preferred it all to be seamless! There is a sense of responsibility when you are hosting. But at least the food was above reproach!

14 comments:

HH said...

The food sounds amazing FC! Shame about the service, though pleased they tried to make amends for it. The hosting anxiety is very similar to recommenders remorse.

Norm Schoen said...

Rose Champagne does not get its due. It is some of my favorite wine to drink.

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Happy birthday sweetheart! Aren't b-days great? I'm glad you had a decent dinner but I'm sorry the service was lousy. Don't let the lack of proper customer service ruin you birthday weekend. REstaurant personnel are only human, so they can be incredibly busy or incredibly stupid. Enjoy your days sweetie.

mscrankypants said...

Happy birthday! The colour of the champagne in your photo is sublime -- I can almost feel the bubbles on my tongue.

Dee said...

Pity about the shoddy service, but at least you got wine. Here you'd probably have gotten a shrug.

That bacon recipe may well change my life too. Will try it out and let you know.

Natashya said...

Happy birthday! Lots of September babies around.
I am glad your food was excellent. Sorry about the poor service. If the food is going to be slow, they should at least keep the drinks coming!
This is why I don't go to restaurants very often. Usually we are disappointed.
I love the sound of that rose champagne, I will have to get some...

Foodycat said...

HH - the food is wonderful! Whenever I get homesick for Sydney I remind myself that you can't get good, reasonably priced French food in Sydney!

Norm - I had 2 different pink champagnes on the weekend, and the besserat was definitely my favourite. As you can tell by the colour the piper has a little too much fruit!

Thanks Teresa, I did have a lovely birthday weekend! I think our waiter was new and just wasn't dealing with a busy Saturday service.

Dee - I think you can tell a good restaurant by how they deal with problems. And you will love the bacon!

Summer said...

Happy Birthday!
the food sounds devine but its too bad about the service! i would rather have liked to have good service to go along with the great food than the no tipping and the free wine bottle!
hope it will be better next birthday! :)

Foodycat said...

At least we know the service is usually as good as the food! Pretty sure it will not happen again.

Esi said...

Happy Birthday!! I'm glad you enjoyed your dinner despite the less than stellar service.

Sam said...

That Tarte Tatin sounds amazing!

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Sounds like incredible food, but sorry to hear about the service. Waiting round is so frustrating!!

And happy birthday to you :)

hot garlic said...

Happy Birthday!! Sorry about the poor service but glad that food was good! I hope your day was great and that you were spoiled to the max.

And I saw that you were the one that nominated me, that was really sweet and I'm glad you like the way I write! I just try to be me, so thanks.

Brittany said...

That Besserat de Bellefon is on the wine list where I work and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites. It's a total hottie.

Happy b-day!!!

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