Monday, February 08, 2010

Dining back to front

Do you ever yearn to start your dinner with pudding and work backwards? Was your childhood punctuated by feeling aggrieved because you had to work your way through boring carrots and fish before you got to the yummy sugary dessert? 
I don't remember those sorts of feelings, and now, having tried it, I don't think I was missing much. On Saturday, my TWDB and I went to dinner at La Monde à l'Envers in the middle of the Ecusson old quarter of Montpellier. We chose it randomly from a list of 25 or so restaurants on the carte gastronomique that my TWDB bought as a special comité entreprise offer. You reserve a table for two and pay for just one meal plus wine. Nifty!

We arrived and were asked if we would like to start with the digestif - vodka with crème de violet, so we did. Bad idea. It was very sweet and a bit sickly, and that feeling stayed with me for the rest of the meal. One of the reasons why I wanted to come to this restaurant was because they had on the menu a gazpacho of beetroot and cèpes. I'm trying to train myself to like beetroot and thought this was an original idea and could be an interesting taste experience.

Unfortunately, it's on the menu but won't be available until later in the year. That's the problem of printing an annual menu, perhaps... Anyway, I was disappointed and had to choose a crumble with melted goat's cheese and raspberry instead - dessert.

Verdict? Tasty but sickly. The crumble was too sweet and, following on from the violet vodka, my stomach was sending out distress signals. I didn't eat all of it. I then had a tatin style fresh marinated salmon cooked with leeks and served with home-made (they said) skin on chips. It was very tasty too, but quite rich. The salmon was served in an individual pot with a pastry lid. Now I come to think of it, I suppose I was meant to tip it onto the plate to give the 'tatin' effect.

Never mind, I couldn't eat all of that dish either. The food was not enhanced either by the distinctly bland St Chinian we had to go with it. If you're in search of a decent wine list, don't go here because they have just 3 types of each colour wine, and if the St Chinian is anything to go by, you won't be impressed by any of them.

By this time, I couldn't face the next course which should have been the starter, but we were given a list of desserts such as tiramisu, something chocolatey or some other creamy cake. I was feeling very queasy and didn't want the aperitif (kir) either. In fact, I just wanted to get out into the fresh air.

It was an adventure, but not one I'd go on again. Great if you like rich, sweet food in any order. We had the menu at 26.90€ plus 16€ for the wine, total meal: 42.90€ with the gastro card.


  1. The vodka was enough to get me to walk out, and if not, finding no beetroot having gone there specifically to eat beetroot would have been the finisher.
    I am much bolder about deciding I am not going to like somewhere these sniff of an overpriced absurdity and I'm off like an Arianne.

  2. I was amazed that the resto was full. This was a Saturday in February and loads of other restos were also full.

    My bien aimé is also one for walking out if not happy but we've also been reduced to going home to crisps and a glass of wine because we couldn't find another reasonable restaurant that wasn't full.

  3. Try this for a beetroot salad: Slice 'em up with chopped spring onions. Dress with raspberry vinegar and salt.

  4. Ooer, that sounds very beetrooty. I thought I might start by roasting the hell out of one.
    This recipe sounds good:

  5. I love 'thinking' about what pudding I am going to have, and have been known to plan the menu around it - but actually eating the meal backwards ... definitely no!
    WV - carbi!

  6. I'm with dragondays, definitely wouldn't eat backwards given the choice, I'm much too keen on ending with coffee and chocolate.
    I love roasted beetroot and it goes really well with smoked peppered mackeral and creamed horseraddish.

  7. Would the smoked peppered mackerel be hot? I never buy it cos I have no idea what to do with it really.


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