Posts Tagged ‘Hotel du Nord’

And the Arrogant Frenchman Award Goes to…

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

… the over confident waiter who destroyed a perfectly nice evening at Hotel du Nord last night! Congratulations!

Congratulations

Not.

It was Harald and Heather’s (Tom’s parents) last night in Paris and they treated us to dinner at Hotel du Nord. Previous visits to this restaurant had proven positive and I spent the day looking forward to my meal. The first disappointment was the discovery that they have recently changed their menu so everything I had been planning on eating was no longer available. However, it is always good to try something new so I got over this quickly enough.

We were served by a friendly and efficient girl who took our orders and we waited with anticipation for our meals to arrive. My dinner arrived first, delivered by a guy who has been at the restaurant every time we’ve been there and who has a generally grumpy disposition. As he handed me my plate, he said something to me in French which I didn’t quite get the first time so I asked him to repeat himself. And so he said exactly the same thing again, which I understood to be, “There aren’t any other dishes ready.” to which I looked surprised and said “Ok.” and he walked away.

And so I waited for a few minutes for everyone else’s food to arrive but it didn’t and so I started eating to avoid my food getting cold. And I ate. And ate. I had about a fifth of my food left on my plate when the original waitress looked at our table and noticed that I was the only one with food. She frowned, we said, “Where’s the rest of the food?” and she went off to the kitchen to look for it. She returned to apologise and say that it was on its way (so it hadn’t been cooked yet), and I finished my meal. And then he appeared. Monsieur Grumpy came over to the table with a disapproving look on his face and said to me (in French), “Do you speak French?” to which I responded with “Oui.” He then proceeded to tell me that when he had brought me my meal he had asked me whether the dish had been ordered “separatement” (separately) and therefore it was my fault that no one else had their meal. This was said in a very accusatory tone and I sat dumbfounded as I was told that it was my fault that their communication systems between waiters and kitchen had clearly broken down. Of course, less than perfect French speaking skills failed me and I sat saying “Errr…” and shaking my head as he screwed up his nose at me and sauntered off.

I don’t think I have ever been so blatantly blamed for something that was out of my control in such a public venue before. It took me by surprise and my frustration and being unable to explain myself resulted in me getting over emotional and then came the tears. This, of course, led to outrage from Tom who then called the guy over and started pointing at the whimpering girl and trying his best to tell the guy off in French and English. The waiter just shrugged and made fun of Tom’s attempted at French and walked off again. Harald made the the final call saying “Ein arsch” potentially slightly too loudly. Anyway, the NICE waitress tried her best to calm the situation and gave us free dessert (hooray!) but the waiter seriously needed to be taught a lesson in what-not-to-do-to-your-clients. He could have just given me a dirty look and mumbled under his breath how annoying foreigners are, but he didn’t need to come and tell me it was my fault when 1. it wasn’t and 2. he never asked me if the dish had been ordered separately. One thing about listening to second languages is that you listen very careful to each word that is said in the sentence and he DID NOT say ‘separately’.

Anyway, Tom came home and wrote scathing comments about the waiter on La Fourchette. We all agreed that the food was great and the waitress who actually served us was lovely so other than the ‘arse’ we had a good time. Just a pity about arrogant waiters, I guess.

A Night Out

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Last Sunday night, Tom took me out for a slap up meal at our local joint. I had walked past this bar-slash-restaurant many times on my way to the supermarket and had spotted it in two travel guides for Paris. I dropped enough hints and on Sunday night at the French-dining hour of 8pm, we headed to the other side of the canal to Hotel de Nord. This place featured in a film (also called Hotel de Nord) in the 1930s and is a cosy space with lots of wood, white table cloths but a relaxed atmosphere. We had been previously for a beer on a sunny afternoon and the slightly fancy looking dining area appealed greatly to me.

The menu is a typical bar selection (by that I mean a French bar – definitely no fish and chips and BLT on this menu) with steak, seafood and even a vegetarian risotto. It isn’t every day that you find a vegetarian option on a french menu. Tom and I both chose the steak special which was a big piece of meat, lots of chips and a tiny addition of lettuce.

Beef

Côte de boeuf avec sauce aux shitaki et frites

The steak was deliciously juicy but had a few chewy bits which was disappointing. Luckily it was followed by dessert.

WOW. I’ll start by telling you that Tom had a panna cotta with berries. Meanwhile, I chose the chocolate and basil tart. Have I already said Wow? Well, it was. Dark chocolate mousse with a hint of basil on a crunchy pastry bottom. PLUS they had some how managed to caramelise an entire fresh basil leaf that was crunchy and sweet and yet basil-ish and it was stuck in the middle of the mousse. It was BRILLIANT! I have never had that or contemplated that before. So so good. This delight was then served with sesame seed ice cream, which again was astonishingly brilliant. I finished it and wanted more. The fact that this restaurant is a mere two minute walk away is not a good thing for my waist line. I’ll be over there in a second for more dessert.

Chocolate tart

Oh how I love French pastry chefs.

It’s great to find a nice local restaurant to go for dinner. Not the cheapest option but so good. There are lots of restaurants in our neck of the woods that we want to try out so I think it might be my turn to take Tom out for dinner next. It’ll probably be soon because I can’t wait to eat.