Wednesday, 27 March 2013
I've been living in France for 18 months now and until last night I hadn't experienced the legendary rudeness of French waiters and waitresses. Not once. I thought it was an urban myth, but it's not. It's alive and well and living near the Place des Vosges.
The story goes something like this - out eating Mexican with a couple of girl friends, we decide we are still hungry and head off from the Cantina, which doesn't have a single pudding on its menu, to somewhere else for a dessert to die for. We alight on a place I go to often and where I have eaten crème brulee in the middle of the afternoon with a cup of coffee. We decide on the cafe gourmand each - which if you have never had it is a heavenly sampler of different desserts - crème brulee, chocolate mousse, fruit tarte with crème anglaise and a cup of espresso. Perfect.
When we order these, the most expensive desserts on the menu by the way, the waitress tuts at us because we do not want to eat (although clearly we do). It is gone ten o'clock and the restaurant is not busy. She then checks with the maître that we can indeed order such and returns in a major strop to remove the starched white cloths from the table with a flourish and leaving the rather unappealing table top beneath for us to enjoy.
Pudding takes ages to come. It is delicious, but not enough to merit any kind of tip for the balchiest waitress in Paris. Silly girl, what exactly was her problem?