6 August 2010

Lunch at the Supermarket

For quite a few years I’d drive up the penetrante from Cagnes (a generic name in France for a road, usually a dual carriageway, which ‘penetrates’ the land away from the coast) and I’d point at a large tract of land to whoever I was with and ask what they were planning to do with it.
For the first few years, the stock answer was ‘it’s going to be the new Ikea’, which was great as it would mean J wouldn’t regularly disappear for what seemed like a week down to Ikea at Toulon. Then they didn’t get planning permission and the land lay vacant for another couple of years.
Then building work started and I would ask whoever I was with what was being constructed. ‘A casino’, they would say and I would think that the supermarket chain Casino already had several stores in the area and why would they want another one?
Finally it was finished - the Terrazur Casino, a gleaming chrome and glass edifice, sitting in landscaped gardens just 20 minutes from our house.
I’d tried to pop in quite a few times just to see what the membership rules were but I never seemed to have time, I was always rushing to or from the airport, but a few weeks ago on the way to my ear specialist I found myself with a spare twenty minutes and I wandered in.
Now I’m not a casino fanatic, it’s a very easy way to lose money but occasionally and with a strict budget I’ll play the tables but the thing which really interested me was the food. In order to attract and keep punters, casinos generally serve very good and reasonably priced food and so it appeared with the Terrazur.
And so on Wednesday when I was overdue in taking J and Kitty out to lunch, I said we’d go to the Casino, whereupon my precocious step-daughter said in her ever-so-haughty voice, ‘there’s no way I’m going to a supermarket to have lunch.’
Once she understood where we were actually going she was quite excited and when we arrived, it was even more exciting for her, her first visit ever to a casino – park the car in a cool underground car park, go through electronically controlled doors which lead straight into the casino complex and then up an escalator to the restaurant where anybody can eat – no need to register with the reception desk.
They have an indoor restaurant and a lovely planted outdoor terrace restaurant which is where we ate (see picture) and the staff, although the place was quite busy, were very attentive with the food being delivered to the table quickly and shock of shocks, the waiter asking if we wanted a drink whilst our food was being prepared!
The food was quite good considering we restricted ourselves to the ‘daily menu’ which was a bargain at €13.50 for two courses including a large glass of very good wine (Kitty had a coke). The a la carte menu also looked good with other diners choosing sea bass (€18) or pasta dishes (€10) but the bargain was the wine which was served in large glasses at €2 a time. Needless to say I had to try both the rosé and the blanc and both were delicious – much better than the stuff they serve in the surrounding villages for the same price.
The telling point though was when I got the bill – it was quite a bit less than I’d expected – always a good sign! We’ll definitely go back.
PS – following my meeting with European royalty the other night, I told Nigel about it and of course he just had to go one better. Read his blog at the following URL and remember there are some naughty bits in the content:

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