3 October 2008

Deep Fried Mars Bars Please…..


Us ex-pat Brits are pathetic. We cannot go for a week without an infusion of baked beans. We empty the supermarket shelves of Daddies Brown sauce if we spot it for our shepherd’s pie and if we see anything resembling McVities Chocolate Digestives, a queue forms outside the shop. The French are appalled at the fact that we use Bisto Gravy Granules and they physically shudder when they hear we have bacon and eggs for breakfast. Even the local radio station has called it’s breakfast programme, The Full English….how naff is that ? But all that pales into insignificance when we know that there’s a decent curry house or a fish and chip shop in the locality – the locality for either of these two gastronomic delights being anything up to 100km! 

Let’s take curry houses first – they are not a patch on what you get in the UK but they try their best. They are staffed and owned by Indians so there’s no excuse really except that I remember an Indian curry shop owner, in Greenock of all places, telling me that much of the food they served was designed for the British palate – he said Pakora did not exist in India! So maybe the curry house in Grasse has adapted it’s food to suit the tastes of the French despite the fact that the majority of French would find a Korma unbearably hot. Anyway, the only dish they seem to do anywhere near the standards of the UK is Lamb Ghost (Lamb in Spinach). The Nans are ok but they don’t do Parathas which is my favourite bread. They do Onion Bhaji but not as you know it but they do serve Indian Beer which, I suppose is something. A bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1925 would be a bit over the top. But when you’re desperate you’ll drive the 15 miles or so to get there and you’ll have a satisfied tummy all the way home despite the fact that you feel that something was missing. 

Now Fish and Chips. There’s been several attempts to serve Fish and Chips to the masses of Brits down here, both those who live here and those who, on the 2nd week of a holiday, just want something slightly less than a 5 course gourmet meal. There was a restaurant on one of the lakes in the Var (the next door region to us) who tried it but despite heavily advertising their Friday Fish and Chip nights it never seemed to take off. Maybe the fact that they were in the middle of absolute nowhere was the problem.

Then there is the camp site just a mile down the road from where I live who do, yes you’ve guessed it, Friday Fish and Chip nights. The problem there is that you never know what sort of fish they are serving. All sorts of finned beasts are fished out of the Med and served up as ‘white fish’ and it’s only when you see the flesh do you realise that it’s nothing like cod or haddock. And most of the people down there are French and Germans and who wants to eat fish and chips with them ?

And so I come to Zena’s (R.I.P.), the fish and chip shop in Antibes which is on the coast about 25 miles away and a good hour in the car. I heard about Zena’s only a couple of years ago and dragged J down there for dinner one night (I was feeling extravagant) and there it was, a real chippie with melamine tables and school style chairs. When I say a real chippie, I’m not sure they do take-aways but as we went for a sit-down meal we were happy. J had the cod (imported from England) and I had the steak Pie, both with chips. J had curry sauce and mushy peas whilst I just had lashings of gravy and mushy peas. The portions were enormous (well the fish was – pies are pies I suppose) and the chips were so good you would have driven the 25 miles just to eat them on their own. The problem was that there were no pickled onions, no gherkins and no pickled eggs. And there was certainly no Irn Bru! 

And so it was with a cry of delight that I heard today that my mate Ashley and his wife have bought a share in Zena’s and after taking over, plan to continue the tradition of a real chippie but with some changes. Poor Ashley and Jaynie. Everybody they talk to has their own idea about what they should serve. The normal request is for the pickles stated above but there are a couple of things which I forgot to tell Ashley today – so here’s my ideal menu for a chippie……. 

·        Deep Fried Pizzas

·        Deep Fried Sausages in Batter

·        Deep Fried Black Puddings in Batter

·        Steak and Kidney Pies

·        Deep Fried Scottish (Mutton) Pies

·        Deep Fried Pakora

·        Deep Fried Skinless Haddock

·        Deep Fried Mars Bars

·        Large Pickled Onions

·        Bread and Butter

·        Irn Bru

·        American Cream Soda

 Please Ashley. Please !

1 comment:

janiepenelope said...

Hi Tom

Janie here!

The Fish and Chip/British restaurant, will be taken over from Zena on the 15th October,(as long as the 'French' accountant does all the paperwork on time!)

William Bertin is my partner, and as you may have guessed by his name - he is a FROG!!!

Don't panic, don't panic - William used to live in Brighton and is married to an English lady, by the name of Ruth.

The restaurant is to be called "The Full English" because .... it does what it says on the tin!

Each day has a special:-

Sausages and Mash
Shepherds Pie
Curry (veggie and meat options)
Fresh salmon fish cakes with sauce
and so it goes on.....

William has lately been a chef in the Old Town of Vence, and has wanted to run his own restaurant for a long time.

I will be the waitress - Ashley is keen to help me with my outfit!!!

The restaurant will also be a meeting point for the English speaking community.

The first Friday of each month will be 'Welcome to the Cote d'Azur' for those who have just arrived, and would like to meet a friendly person who speaks the same lingo.

We also have afternoon tea with cakes on offer every afternoon, daily newspapers and board games, in case you fancy meeting up with a mate and having some banter over a game of crib or backgammon.

Unlike Zena's we are open 7 days a week from 8h00 - 22h00.

Start the day healthily with say eggs benedict, or why not go for the 'Full Monty' English breakfast - you choose. No it will not be served it naked, although I will dance for a very large tip!!!

We will be offering, complimentary gherkins, picked eggs, mayo and tom sauce with the fish and chips.

But as for the Deep Fried Mars Bars.............