Bright ideas for recession-hit restaurants
In a recession you need to think outside the box to attract and keep customers. One way is to add a bit of theatre by serving a dish at the table or at a central point of the restaurant where everyone can see it. Here are three recent examples from France and Argentina:
Mussels at O Bontemps, Magalas, Languedoc
Chef Olivier Bontemps comes out at the start of the meal with a bowlful of mussels which he serves to each table once the waiter has taken their order. It’s a great dish with cream and bacon but what makes the impression is that he leaves his kitchen to serve each customer. (Otherwise our recent meal was a little disappointing compared to our earlier visit - the cooking has got more convuluted and the presentation slightly overworked)
Aligot in Argentina
How’s this for a cross-cultural experience? A Brazilian chef (Alex Atala) serving a French cheese and potato dish (Aligot) at an Argentinian winery (La Rural)! He also made it better than most French chefs, I have to say - it was fabulously light. Served on its own it provided an original alternative to a cheese course - and worked well with the Apartado 2002 we had previously been drinking with some Brazilian-style baby pork ribs
Brie in Buenos Aires
A great way of handling the cheese course for a wine dinner or banquet. At the Wine Spectator ‘Wine Rarities’ dinner a great round of Brie was wheeled out then plated up in the centre of the dining room by the participating chefs. The accompanying truffle oil, pear chutney and nut grissini made it look great on the plate and kicked in the accompanying 10 year old Terrazas de los Andes Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon.
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