Monday, 6 July 2009

No lollipops?

La Provence
If you're male, there is something strangely democratic about the maquis of Dakar (although I'm told they're not a patch on the super maquis of Abidjan). Who knows who you'll find at the bar - a shopkeeper, drug smuggler, politician, teacher? Female customers seem to be a bit thinner on the ground, and are often working in one way or another.

La Provence on Seydou Nourou Tall has just had something of a refit, with the new restaurant kitted out in the style of 'Former Soviet hotel breakfast room'. Head for the darker barroom for a little more atmosphere, where you'll find drunks watching silent TV news, Congolese beats on the stereo, plastic table cloths and dimmed lights. They have a doorman, which is a good sign that things will start to get livelier later on.

The menu is lengthy, and Mrs Jiffler tentatively orders fahitas. We know it's unlikely they'll have them, but sometimes you can be surprised. The waitress returns and informs us that the new chef only knows how to cook three things: Brochettes, steaks, and fried fish.

Our table tries one of everything, accompanied by cold Gazelle and stories about the aforementioned Former Soviet hotel breakfast rooms. The food arrives and I'm magically transported by the smell to another era. However limited the abilities of the chef, she has somehow managed to recreate the exact smell of a 1980s Little Chef. I'm overwhelmed by childhood memories of the 'popular' British roadside diner, and have a sudden craving for an overpriced toasted teacake and an Olympic feast breakfast.

1980s reverie aside, the chef wasn't strictly telling the truth when she said she could cook a steak. My specimen comes hammered to minute steak thickness and cooked until grey. It resembles the leather tongue from an old pair of hiking boots in both appearance and texture, while its taste is thankfully hidden behind a wall of sauce pebble-dashed with peppercorns. Chips are OK, a bit oily, but at least the oil is fresh.

In this neck of the woods, I'd say you're better off at Maquis des Alles just up the road. Watch out for a review soon.

La Provence
Allees Seydou Nourou Tall
Tel: 77 645 97 78
Open seven days. 7am to midnight, until 1am Friday and Saturday.

1 comment:

Emma said...

don't order the nutella pancake either. for a start the pancake is thick and heavy, which if it were filled with nutella would be ok, however filled with the cheaper "chocomousse" spread i was hugely disappointed