Everything was running smoothly and generally 'hunky dory' last night at Le Catalan, located under the railway bridge which crosses Beaulieu sur / Mer's Bvd. Marechal Leclerc. (Right now, the bvd. Is undergoing a considerable up-grade: it promises to be outstanding come completion. Meanwhile, I pity the poor retailers, incl. the restaurateurs, all of whom are obliged to cope with all of the turmoil and disruption usually associated with major civil engineering works of this sort. Mind you, the footwork of pedestrians is similarly put to the test).
Le Catalan is a sort of 'all things to all peoples' place. Certainly, it's 'dress down'. We were probably the third set of couples to have arrived and we were offered a multiple choice of tables. My wife chose to sit at a strategically placed one where she could look out towards the blvd. whilst I faced the open fronted kitchen with its pantiled roof on top of which sat various paraphernalia of the farmyard variety from which the restaurant takes its theme. There to the left, was the wood-fired pizza oven with the pizza chef beavering away and, in a timely fashion, reaching for his ultra-long wooden pizza spatula. He clanged the overhead cowbell when an order was ready for the waiters ... a sound that was distinguishable from a similar bell, at the other end, which is used for non-pizza orders. A nifty little arrangement.
The day's soup was Onion and we both had it. All you would expect from a decent French Onion Soup. Sole Meunier was the night's fish highlight and my wife ordered it. It was of very decent size - by no means a 'slip' sole. Often, chef's do not get meunier as it should be - lacking that nut brown & squeezed lemon finish. But not here. This sole meunier was served with a melange of vegetables and pomme frites (our choice, rather than the parsleyed potatoes on the menu ) ... not necessarily the best pomme frites but certainly adequate. My entrecôte was of sufficient size as to echo that of a small Persian rug. I think that chef went that extra mile with his meat tenderizing hammer. But it was cooked exactly the way I asked for it to be and it was juicy. The accompanying tomato salad (my choice) was generous in size and well 'vinaigretted' in finish. Pomme frites were similar to those described earlier. We passed on the puds., despite there being an enticing selection from which to choose. The half bottle (50cl) of Figuieres red did my entrecôte proud, as did rose by the glass to my wife's sole. A litre bottle of San Pelegrino made us both feel righteous!
By now the restaurant was pretty full but due to its spaciousness and sensible configuration of the tables, by no means uncomfortable. There were families dining, some with little toddlers ... blue collar as well as red collar workers ... some couples who looked as though they were getting ahead of this year's Cannes Film Festival ... and of course, us!
A successful night out - in a laid-back yet, professionally run restaurant - made more successful by the competence of our waiter. Euros 93.60 , incl. sevice and the usual taxes. If a Le Catalan look-a-like were in walking distance of our home, it would be chock-a-block every night.
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