THE GOURMET'S GUIDE TO EUROPE
DINNERS AND DINERS:
Where and how to Dine in London
By Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis
New and Revised Edition Small Crown 8vo. Cloth. 3/6
WHERE AND HOW TO DINE IN PARIS
By Rowland Strong Fcap. 8vo. Cover designed cloth. 2/6
* * * * *
London: GRANT RICHARDS
The Gourmet's Guide To Europe
EDITED BY THE FORMER
London GRANT RICHARDS 48 LEICESTER SQUARE, W.C. 1903
The pleasures of the table are common to all ages and ranks, to all countries and times; they not only harmonise with all the other pleasures, but remain to console us for their loss.
Often enough, staying in a hotel in a foreign town, I have wished to sally forth and to dine or breakfast at the typical restaurant of the place, should there be one. Almost invariably I have found great difficulty in obtaining any information regarding any such restaurant. The proprietor of the caravanserai at which one is staying may admit vaguely that there are eating-houses in the town, but asks why one should be anxious to seek for second-class establishments when the best restaurant in the country is to be found under his roof. The hall-porter has even less scruples, and stigmatises every feeding-place outside the hotel as a den of thieves, where the stranger foolishly venturing is certain to be poisoned and then robbed. This book is an attempt to help the man who finds himself in such a position. His guide-book may possibly give him the names of the restaurants, but it does no more. My co-author and myself attempt to give him some details—what his surroundings will be, what dishes are the specialities of the house, what wine a wise man will order, and what bill he is likely to be asked to pay.
Our ambition was to deal fully with the capitals of all the countries of Europe, the great seaports, the pleasure resorts, and the "show places." The most acute critic will not be more fully aware how far we have fallen short of our ideal than we are, and no critic can have any idea of the difficulty of making such a book as we hope this will some day be when complete. At all events we have always gone to the best authorities where we had not the knowledge ourselves. Our publisher, Mr. Grant Richards, quite entered into the idea that no advertisements of any kind from hotels or restaurants should be allowed within the covers of the book; and though we have asked for information from all classes of gourmets—from ambassadors to the simple globe-trotter—we have not listened to any man interested directly or indirectly in any hotel or restaurant.
Hotels as places to live in we have not considered critically, and have only mentioned them when the restaurants attached to them are the dining-places patronised by the bon-vivants of the town.
Over England we have not thrown our net, for Dinners and Diners leaves me nothing new to write of London restaurants.
In conclusion I beg, on behalf of my co-author and myself, to return thanks to all the good fellows who have given us information; and I would earnestly beg any travelling gourmet, who finds any change in the restaurants we have mentioned, or who comes on treasure-trove in the shape of some delightful dining-place we know nothing of, to take pen and ink and write word of it to me, his humble servant, to the care of Mr. Grant Richards, Leicester Square. So shall he benefit, in future editions, all his own kind. We hear much of the kindness of the poor to the poor. This is an opportunity, if not for the rich to be kind to the rich, at least for those who deserve to be rich to benefit their fellows.
The "Cuisine de Paris"—A little ancient history—Restaurants with a "past"—The restaurants of to-day—Over the river—Open-air restaurants—Supping-places—Miscellaneous 1
FRENCH PROVINCIAL TOWNS
The northern ports—Norman and Breton towns—The west coast and Bordeaux—Marseilles and the Riviera—The Pyrenees—Provence—Aix-les-Bains and other "cure" places 35
The food of the country—Antwerp—Spa—Bruges—Ostende 79
The Savoy—The Epaule de Mouton—The Faille Dechiree—The Lion d'Or—The Regina—The Helder—The Filet de Sole—Wiltcher's—Justine's—The Etoile—The Belveder—The Cafe Riche—Duranton's—The Laiterie—Miscellaneous 90
Restaurants at the Hague—Amsterdam—Scheveningen— Rotterdam—The food of the people 105
The cookery of the country—Rathskeller and beer-cellars—Dresden—Muenich—Nueremburg—Hanover— Leipsic—Frankfurt—Duesseldorf—The Rhine valley—"Cure" places—Kiel—Hamburg 110
Up-to-date restaurants—Supping-places—Military cafes—Night restaurants 144
Lucerne—Basle—Bern—Geneva—Davos Platz 151
Italian cookery and wines—Turin—Milan—Genoa— Venice—Bologna—Spezzia—Florence—Pisa—Leghorn— Rome—Naples—Palermo 157
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
Food and wines of the country—Barcelona—San Sebastian—Bilbao—Madrid—Seville—Bobadilla— Grenada—Jerez—Algeciras—Lisbon—Estoril 178
AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY
Viennese restaurants and cafes—Baden—Carlsbad— Marienbad—Prague—Bad Gastein—Budapesth 196
The dishes of the country—The restaurants of Bucarest 207
SWEDEN. NORWAY. DENMARK
Stockholm restaurants—Malmoe—Storvik—Gothenburg— Christiana—Copenhagen—Elsinore 210
Food of the country—Restaurants in Moscow—The dining-places of St. Petersburg—Odessa—Warsaw 217
Turkish dishes—Constantinople restaurants 226
Grecian dishes—Athens 230
The "Cuisine de Paris"—A little ancient history—Restaurants with a "past"—The restaurants of to-day—Over the river—Open-air restaurants—Supping-places—Miscellaneous.
Paris is the culinary centre of the world. All the great missionaries of good cookery have gone forth from it, and its cuisine was, is, and ever will be the supreme expression of one of the greatest arts in the world. Most of the good cooks come from the south of France, most of the good food comes from the north. They meet at Paris, and thus the Paris cuisine, which is that of the nation and that of the civilised world, is created.
When the Channel has been crossed you are in the country of good soups, of good fowl, of good vegetables, of good sweets, of good wine. The hors-d'oeuvre are a Russian innovation; but since the days when Henry IV. vowed that every peasant should have a fowl in his pot, soup from the simplest bouillon to the most lordly consommes and splendid bisques has been better made in France than anywhere else in the world. Every great cook of France has invented some particularly delicate variety of the boiled fillet of sole, and Duglere achieved a place amongst the immortals, by his manipulation of the brill. The soles of the north are as good as any that ever came out of British waters; and Paris—sending tentacles west to the waters where the sardines swim, and south to the home of the lamprey, and tapping a thousand streams for trout and the tiny gudgeon and crayfish—can show as noble a list of fishes as any city in the world. The chef de cuisine who could not enumerate an hundred and fifty entrees all distinctively French, would be no proficient in his noble profession. The British beef stands against all the world as the meat noblest for the spit, though the French ox which has worked its time in the fields gives the best material for the soup-pot; and though the Welsh lamb and the English sheep are the perfection of mutton young and mutton old, the lamb nurtured on milk till the hour of its death, and the sheep reared on the salt-marshes of the north, make splendid contribution to the Paris kitchens. Veal is practically an unknown meat in London; and the calf which has been fed on milk and yolk of egg, and which has flesh as soft as a kiss and as white as snow, is only to be found in the Parisian restaurants. Most of the good restaurants in London import all their winged creatures, except game, from France; and the Surrey fowl and the Aylesbury duck, the representatives of Great Britain, make no great show against the champions of Gaul, though the Norfolk turkey holds his own. A vegetable dish, served by itself and not flung into the gravy of a joint, forms part of every French dinner, large or small; and in the battle of the kitchen gardens the foreigners beat us nearly all along the line, though I think that English asparagus is better than the white monsters of Argenteuil. A truffled partridge, or the homely Perdrix au choux, or the splendid Faisan a la Financiere show that there are many more ways of treating a game bird than plain roasting him; and the peasants of the south of France had crushed the bones of their ducks for a century before we in London ever heard of Canard a la Presse. The Parisian eats a score of little birds we are too proud to mention in our cookery books, and he knows the difference between a mauviette and an alouette. Perhaps the greatest abasement of the Briton, whose ancestors called the French "Froggies" in scorn, comes when his first morning in Paris he orders for breakfast with joyful expectation a dish of the thighs of the little frogs from the vineyards. An Austrian pastry-cook has a lighter hand than a French one, but the Parisian open tarts and cakes and the friandises and the ice, or coupe-jacque at the end of the Gallic repast are excellent.
Paris is strewn with the wrecks of restaurants, and many of the establishments with great names of our grandfathers' and fathers' days are now only tavernes or cheap table-d'hote restaurants. The Grand Vefour in the Palais Royal—where the patrons of the establishment in Louis Philippe's time used to eat off royal crockery, bought from the surplus stock of the palaces by M. Hamel, cook to the king, and proprietor of the restaurant—has lost its vogue in the world of fashion. The present Cafe de Paris has an excellent cook, and is the supper restaurant where the most shimmering lights of the demi-monde may be seen; but the old Cafe de Paris, at the corner of the Rue Taitbout, the house which M. Martin Guepet brought to such fame, and where the Veau a la Casserole drew the warmest praise from our grandfathers, has vanished. Bignon's, which was a name known throughout the world, has fallen from its high estate; the Cafe Riche, though it retains a good restaurant, is not the old famous dining-place any longer; and the Marivaux, where Joseph flourished, has been transformed into a brasserie. The Cafe Hardi, at one time a very celebrated restaurant, made place for the Maison d'Or, and the gilded glory of the latter has now passed in its turn. The Cafe Veron, Philippe's, of the Rue Mont Orgueil, and the Rocher de Cancale in the Rue Mandar, where Borel, one of the cooks of Napoleon I., made gastronomic history, Beauvilliers's, the proprietor of which was a friend of all the field-marshals of Europe, and made and lost half-a-dozen fortunes, the Trois Freres Provenceaux, the Cafe Very, and D'Hortesio's are but memories.
The saddest disappearance of all, because the latest, is the Maison d'Or, which is to be converted, so it is said, into a brasserie. The retirement of Casimir, one of the Verdier family, who was to the D'Or what Duglere was to the Anglais, precipitated the catastrophe, and in the autumn of 1902 the house gave its farewell luncheon, and closed with all the honours of war. Alas for the Carpe a la Gelee and the Sole au vin Rouge and the Poularde Maison d'Or! I shall never, I fear, eat their like again. There was much history attached to the little golden house; more, perhaps, than to any other restaurant in the world. From its doors Rigolboche, in the costume of Mother Eve, started for her run across the road to the Anglais. At the table by one of the windows looking out on to the boulevard Nestor Roqueplan, Fould, Salamanca, and Delahante used always to dine. Upstairs in "Le Grand 6," which was to the Maison d'Or what "Le Grand 16" is to the Anglais, Salamanca, who drew a vast revenue from a Spanish banking-house, used to give extraordinary suppers at which the lights of the demi-monde of that day, Cora Pearl, Anna Deslions, Deveria, and others used to be present. The amusement of the Spaniard used to be to spill the wax from a candle over the dresses, and then to pay royally for the damage. One evening he asked one of the MM. Verdier whether a very big bill would be presented to him if he burned the whole house down, and on being told that it was only a matter of two or three million francs he would have set light to the curtains if M. Verdier had not interfered to prevent him. The "beau Demidoff," the duelling Baron Espeleta, Princes Galitzin and Murat, Tolstoy, and the Duc de Rivoli gave their parties in the "Grand 6"; and down the narrow, steep flight of steps which led into the side street the Duke of Hamilton fell and broke his neck. The Maison d'Or was the meeting-place, in the sixty odd years of its existence, of many celebrities of literature. Dumas, Meilhac, Emmanuel Arene used to dine there before they went across the road for a game of cards at the Cercle des Deux Mondes, and later Oncle Sarcey was one of the habitues of the house.
Two restaurants in particular seem to me to head the list of the classic, quiet establishments, proud of having a long history, satisfied with their usual clientele, non-advertising, content to rest on their laurels. Those two are the Anglais and Voisin's, the former on the Boulevard des Italiens, the latter in the Rue St-Honore. The Cafe Anglais, the white-faced house at the corner of the Rue Marivaux, is the senior of the two, for it has a history of more than a hundred years. It was originally a little wine-merchant's shop, with its door leading into the Rue Marivaux, and was owned by a M. Chevereuil. The ownerships of MM. Chellet and de L'Homme marked successive steps in its upward career, and when the restaurant came into the market in '79 or '80 it was bought by a syndicate of bankers and other rich business men who parted with it to its present proprietor. The Comte de Grammont Caderousse and his companions in what used to be known as the "Loge Infernale" at the old Opera, were the best-known patrons of the Anglais; and until the Opera House, replaced by the present building, was burnt down, the Anglais was a great supping-place, the little rabbit-hutches of the entresol being the scene of some of the wildest and most interesting parties given by the great men of the Second Empire. The history of the Anglais has never been written because, as the proprietor will tell you, it never could be written without telling tales anent great men which should not be put into print; but if you ask to see the book of menus, chiefly of dinners given in the "Grand Seize," the room on the first floor, the curve of the windows of which look up the long line of the boulevards, and if you are shown the treasure you will find in it records of dinners given by King Edward when he was Prince of Wales, by the Duc de Morny and by D'Orsay, by all the Grand Dukes who ever came out of Russia, by "Citron" and Le Roi Milan, by the lights of the French jockey club, and many other celebrities. There is one especially interesting menu of a dinner at which Bismarck was a guest—before the terrible year of course. While I am gossiping as to the curiosities of the Anglais I must not forget a little collection of glass and silver in a cabinet in the passage of the entresol. Every piece has a history, and most of them have had royal owners. The great sight of the restaurant, however, is its cellars. Electric light is used to light them, luminous grapes hang from the arches, and an orange tree at the end of a vista glows with transparent fruit. In these cellars, beside the wine on the wine-list of the restaurant, are to be found some bottles of all the great vintage years of claret, an object-lesson in Bordeaux; and there are little stores of brandies of wondrous age, most of which were already in the cellars when the battle of Waterloo was fought.
From a gourmet's point of view the great interest in the restaurant will lie, if he wishes to give a large dinner, in the Grand Seize or one of the other private rooms; if he is going to dine alone, or is going to take his wife out to dinner, in the triangular room on the ground floor with its curtains of lace, its white walls, its mirrors and its little gilt tripod in the centre of the floor. Duglere was the chef who, above all others, made history at the Anglais, and the present proprietor, M. Burdel, was one of his pupils; and therefore the cookery of Duglere is the cookery still of the Anglais. Potage Germiny is claimed by the Cafe Anglais as a dish invented by the house, but the Maison d'Or across the way also laid claim to it, and told an anecdote of its creation—how it was invented by Casimir for the Marquis de St-George. The various fish a la Duglere there can be no question concerning, the Barbue Duglere being the most celebrated; and the Poularde Albufera and the Filet de Sole Mornay (which was also claimed by the Grand Vefour) are both specialities of the house. You can order as expensive a dinner as you will for a great feast at the Anglais, and you can eat rich dishes if you desire it; but there is no reason that you should not dine there very well, and as cheaply as you can expect to get good material, good cooking, and good attendance anywhere in the world. The "dishes of the day" are always excellent, and I have dined off a plate of soup, a pint of Bordeaux, and some slices of a gigot de sept heures—one of the greatest achievements of cookery—for a very few francs. I always find that I can dine amply, and on food that even a German doctor could not object to, for less than a louis. For instance, a dinner at the Anglais of half-a-dozen Ostende Oysters, Potage Laitues et Quenelles, Merlans Frits, Cuisse de Poularde de Rotie, Salade Romaine, cheese, half a bottle of Graves 1e Cru, and a bottle of St-Galmier costs 18 francs.
Voisin's, in the Rue St-Honore, the corner house whose windows, curtained with lace, promise dignified quiet, is a restaurant which has a history, and has, and has had, great names amongst its habitues. Many of these have been diplomats, and Voisin's knows that ambassadors do not care to have their doings, when free from the cares of office, gossiped about. When I first saw Voisin's, it looked as unlike the house of to-day as can be imagined. I was in Paris immediately after the days of the Commune and followed, with an old General, the line the troops had taken in the fight for the city. In the Rue St-Honore were some of the fiercest combats, for the regulars fought their way from house to house down this street to turn the positions the Communists took up in the Champs Elysees and the gardens of the Tuileries. The British Embassy had become a hospital, and all the houses which had not been burned looked as though they had stood a bombardment. There were bullet splashes on all the walls, and I remember that Voisin's looked even more battered and hopeless than did most of its neighbours.
The diplomats have always had an affection for Voisin's, perhaps because of its nearness to the street of the Embassies; and in the "eighties" the attaches of the British Embassy used to breakfast there every day. Nowadays, the clientele seems to me to be a mixture of the best type of the English and Americans passing through Paris, and the more elderly amongst the statesmen, who were no doubt the dashing young blades of twenty-five years ago. The two comfortable ladies who sit near the door at the desk, and the little show-table of the finest fruit seem to me never to have changed, and there is still the same quiet-footed, unhurrying service which impressed me when first I made the acquaintance of the restaurant. It is one of the dining-places where one feels that to dine well and unhurriedly is the first great business of life, and that everything else must wait at the dinner-hour. The proprietor, grey-headed and distinguished-looking, goes from table to table saying a word or two to the habitues, and there is a sense of peace in the place—a reflection of the sunshine and calm of Provence, whence the founder of the restaurant came.
The great glory of Voisin's is its cellar of red wines, its Burgundies and Bordeaux. The Bordeaux are arranged in their proper precedence, the wines from the great vineyards first, and the rest in their correct order down to mere bourgeois tipple. Against each brand is the price of the vintage of all the years within a drinkable period, and the man who knew the wine-list of Voisin's thoroughly would be the greatest authority in the world on claret.
Mr. Rowland Strong, in his book on Paris, tells how, one Christmas Eve, he took an Englishman to dine at Voisin's, and how that Englishman demanded plum-pudding. The maitre-d'hotel was equal to the occasion. He was polite but firm, and his assertion that "The House of Voisin does not serve, has never served, and will never serve, plum-pudding" settled the matter.
If the Anglais and Voisin's may be said to have much of their interest in their "past," Paillard's should be taken as a restaurant which is the type and parent of the present up-to-date restaurant. The white restaurant on the Boulevard des Italiens has kept at the top of the tree for many years, and has sent out more culinary missionaries to improve the taste of dining man than any other establishment in Paris. Joseph, who brought the Marivaux to such a high pitch of fame before he emigrated to London, came from Paillard's and so did Frederic of the Tour d'Argent, of whom I shall have something to say later on. Henri of the Gaillon, Notta, Charles of Foyot's—all were trained at Paillard's.
The restaurant has its history, and its long list of great patrons. Le Desir de Roi, which generally appears in the menu of any important dinner at Paillard's, and which has foie gras as its principal component, has been eaten by a score of kings at one time or another, our own gracious Majesty heading the list. The restaurant at first was contained in one small room. Then the shop of Isabelle, the Jockey Club flower-girl, which was next door, was acquired, and lastly another little shop was taken in, the entrance changed from the front to its present position at the side, the accountant's desk put out of sight, and the little musicians' gallery built—for Paillard's has moved with the time and now has a band of Tziganes, much to the grief of men like myself who prefer conversation to music as the accompaniment of a meal. The restaurant as it is with its white walls and bas-reliefs of cupids and flowers, its green Travertine panels let into the white pilasters, its chandeliers of cut glass, is very handsome. M. Paillard, hair parted in the middle and with a small moustache, irreproachably attired, wearing a grey frock-coat by day, and a "smoking" and black tie in the evening, is generally to be seen superintending all arrangements, and there is a maitre-d'hotel who speaks excellent English, and a head waiter with whiskers who deserted to Henri, but subsequently returned, who is also an accomplished linguist.
Amongst the specialities of the house are Pomme Otero and Pomme Georgette, both created, I fancy, by Joseph when he was at Paillard's, Homard Cardinal, Filet de Sole a la Russe, Sole Paillard, Filet de Sole Kotchoubey, Timbale de queues d'Ecrevisses Mantua, Cote de Boeuf braise Empire, Pommes Macaire, Filet Paillard, Supreme de Volaille Grand Duc, Rouennais Paillard, Baron d'agneau Henri IV., Poularde Archiduc, Poularde a la Derby, Poularde Wladimir, Filet de Selle Czarine, Becasse au Fumet, Rouennais a la Presse, Terrine de Foie Gras a la gelee au Porto, Perdreau et Caille Paillard.
Two menus of dinners M. Paillard has given me, one a very noble feast, to the length of which I am a conscientious objector but which I print, presently, in full, and the other a banquet of lesser grandeur with Creme Germiny, Barbue Paillard, Ortolans en surprise, Salade Ideale, and many other good things in it from which I select the following dishes as making a typical little Paillard feast for two, the price of which would not be a king's ransom:—
Caviar frais. Consomme Viveur. Filets de Sole Joinville. Coeurs de Filet Rachel. Pommes Anna. Haricots Verts a la Touranquelle. An Ice or some iced Fruits and some Coffee.
And this repast might well be washed down by a bottle of Montrachet 1885, with a glass of Fine Champagne Palais de St-Cloud to follow.
This is the menu of the banquet:—
Le Caviar Imperial. Les Huitres de Burnham. - Le Consomme Paillard. Pailles Parmesan. La Creme d'Aretin. - Les Croustades a la Victoria. Eau-de-vie Russe. - La Carpe a la Chambord. Chablis Moutonne. Le Turbot a l'Amiral. - Johannisberg 1893. Le Baron de Pauillac persille. Les pommes Macaire. Mouton Rothschild Le Veloute Favorite. 1875. - Le Desir de Roi. Clos Vougeot 1858. - Les Becasses au fumet. Moet brut 1884. La Salade Esperance. - Fine Champagne des Les Asperges d'Argenteuil Tuileries 1800. Sce Mousseline. - La Pyramide a l'Ananas. Le Souffle aux Mandarines. Macarons et Gaufrettes Chantilly. - La Corbeille de Fruits. Cafe.
What the cost of this feast would be it is difficult to estimate, and I will not even hazard a guess.
I asked, last spring, an Englishman who knows his Paris better than most Parisians, what he would consider a typical breakfast, dinner, and supper in Paris, and he answered, "Breakfast chez Henri at the Gaillon, dine at the Ritz, and sup at Durand's."
There are two Henri's in Paris, one is the little hotel and English bar, and the other is in the Place Gaillon. Henri's Restaurant Gaillon had its days of celebrity in the Second Empire, and then sank, as the Maison Grossetete, from grace until Henri Drouet, leaving Paillard's, established himself there. When I first knew the restaurant it had Paillard's cookery, but not Paillard's prices; but now that the whole of the monde qui dine has found it out, I fancy that the scale of prices has risen to a level with that of the parent restaurant. The first room is the best one to breakfast or dine in, for the others on hot days are apt to be very stuffy; and it is well to order a table by telephone in advance. Henri's, it always seems to me, has a more tempting table of cold viands, pates, and tarts and friandises set out than any other restaurateur's, and many of the habitues at lunch-time order eggs or fish, and then turn their attention to the cold buffet.
When dining at Henri's the Consomme Fortunato, the filets de sole of the restaurant, the Noisettes de Veau Port Mahon, the Crepes des Gourmets should be remembered. If you want a dinner for twelve, you cannot do better than order the following, or rather select dishes from it, for it is unreasonably lengthy as it stands:—
Hors-d'oeuvre a la Russe.
Consomme Viveur. Pailles et Parmesan.
Timbale de Homard a l'Americaine.
Baron de Pauillac a la Boulangere. Endives Pochees au jus. Escalopes de Foies grand Opera.
Becasses Flambees au fumet. Salade Port Mahon. Mousse Bohemienne glacee. Truffes au Champagne a la gelee.
Asperges fraiches. Sce Mousseline.
Souffle Valenciennes. Poires Gaillon.
There are several other restaurants which claim to be quite first class, and which are smart and amusing. Two such are the restaurants facing the Madeleine, Durand's, and La Rue's. It was in one of the little rooms on the first floor of Durand's that the Brav' General sat debating in his mind whether he should initiate a coup d'etat, and the crowd outside waited and watched, expecting something to happen. Nothing did happen. General Boulanger thought so long, that the decisive moment passed, and he went home to bed. Boulanger has gone, but his friends, grey-headed now, breakfast daily at Durand's. La Rue's was also a restaurant in favour with General Boulanger, and I fancy that the little dinner-parties he gave there helped much to bring the place into celebrity. Both these restaurants have lately been enlarged and redecorated, and La Rue's advertises a great deal, which no doubt has increased its clientele, but which has not decreased its prices. Parisian Society has decreed that it is "smart" to sup at Durand's, and I always find it an excellent place at which to breakfast. The last time that I took my morning meal there I found all the younger members of the British Embassy breakfasting there, a sure sign that the place is just now on the crest of the wave.
Some of the specialities of Durand's are Potage Henri IV., Consomme Baigneuse, petits diables, Barbue Durand, Poulet Saute Grand Duc, Salade Georgette, Souffle Pole Nord, and of course a variation of the inevitable canard a la presse and the woodcock subjected to an auto-da-fe.
This is the supper that the Restaurant Durand gave its clients on the greatest supping night of the year, Christmas Eve, 1902. The boudin of course all Paris has for supper on the night before the great Christmas feast:—
Consomme de Volaille au fumet de Celeris. Boudin grille a la Parisienne. Ailerons de Volaille a la Tzar. Cailles a la Lucullus. Salade Durand. Ecrevisses de la Meuse a la nage. Crepes Suzette. Dessert. Champagnes. Clicquot Brut, Pommery Drapeau Americain. Gde Fine Napoleon.
At La Rue's I have felt inclined sometimes to protest when I have been charged 2 francs for half-a-dozen prawns, and to think that the vermillion-coloured seats are being paid for too quickly out of profits; but I rarely pass through Paris without breakfasting there, and eating the cold poached eggs in jelly, the Grenouilles a la Mariniere, or one of the dishes of cold fish which are excellently served. Some of the specialities of the house are Potage Reine, Barbue a la Russe, Caille a la Souvaroff, Tournedos a la Rossini, Caneton de Rouen au Sang, Becasse Flambee, Salade Gauloise, Crepes Suzette, Glace Gismonda, Peches Flambees and from this list any one could choose either a little dinner or a big one.
Of restaurants attached to hotels I do not propose to write in this article, with one exception, for there are few of the hundreds of hotels at which one cannot get a very fair dinner; and at some, such as the Elysee Palace, over which Caesario presides, one can get an excellent one; but the purpose of this book is to give information to the man who wishes to dine away from hotels. The one exception is the Ritz, in the Place Vendome, and I include this in my list because the Ritz is a restaurant firstly, and an hotel secondly, and because as a dining place it holds an exceptional position in Paris. It is the restaurant of the smartest foreign society in Paris, and the English, Americans, Russians, Spaniards, dining there always outnumber greatly the French. It is a place of great feasts, but it is also a restaurant at which the maitres-d'hotel are instructed not to suggest long dinners to the patrons of the establishment. In M. Elles' hands or that of the maitre-d'hotel there is no fear of being "rushed" into ordering an over-lengthy repast. This is a typical little dinner for three I once ate at the Ritz, and as a feast in the autumn it is worth recording and repeating:—
Caviar. Consomme Viveni. Mousseline de Soles au vin du Rhin. Queues d'Ecrevisses a l'Americaine. Escalopes de Riz de veau Favorite. Perdreaux Truffes. Salade. Asperges vertes en branches. Coupes aux Marrons. Friandises.
In the afternoon the long passage with its chairs, carpets, and hangings all of crushed strawberry colour is filled with tea-drinkers, for the "5 o'clock" is very popular in Paris, and the Ritz is one of the smartest if not the smartest place at which to drink tea. In the evening the big restaurant, with its ceiling painted to represent the sky and its mirrors latticed to represent windows, is always full, the contrast to a smart English restaurant being that three-quarters of the ladies dine in their hats. Sometimes very elaborate entertainments are given in the Ritz, and I can recall one occasion on a hot summer night, when the garden was tented over and turned into a gorge apparently somewhere near the North Pole, there being blocks and pillars of ice everywhere. The anteroom was a mass of palms, and the idea of the assemblage of the guests in the tropics and their sudden transference to the land of ice was excellently carried out. I give the menu of another great dinner at the Ritz because, not only has it some of the specialities of the house embodied in it, but that it is a good specimen of what a great dinner should be, being important but not heavy:—
Caviar frais. Hors-d'oeuvre. Royal Tortue Claire. Creme d'Artichauts. Mousseline d'Eperlans aux Ecrevisses a l'Americaine. Noisettes de Ris de Veau au fumet de Champignons. Selle de Chevreuil Grand Veneur. Puree de Marrons. Poularde de Houdan Vendome. Sorbets au Kirsch. Ortolans aux Croutons. Coeurs de Laitues. Asperges vertes en branches. Sauce Mousseline. Ananas voile a l'Orientale. Friandises. Corbeilles de Fruits.
Chateau Caillou 1888. Chateau Leoville Lascases 1878 (Magnums). Lanson Brut 1892 (Magnums). Chateau Yquem 1869. Grande Fine Champagne 1790 (Ritz Reserve).
There are a score of capital restaurants in Paris which may be called "bourgeois" without in any way detracting from their excellence. An excellent type of such a restaurant is Maire's, at the corner of the Bd. St-Dennis, owned by the company which controls the Paillard's Restaurant of the Champs Elysees. It is a good place to dine at for any one going to the play at the Porte St-Martin, the Renaissance, the Theatre Antoine, or any of the music halls or theatres in the west of Paris. Mushrooms always seem to me to play a great part in the cookery at Maire's, and the Poulet Maire is a fowl cooked with mushrooms; but the restaurant has a long list of specialities of all kinds, and the mushroom only appears in some of them. Charbonnier is the especial dinner wine of the house, and it is said that the name was originally given to the wine owing to the discovery of a quantity of it stored under sticks of charcoal in the days when Maire's was only a wine-shop.
Next door to the Gymnase Theatre is Marguery's, which always seems to be full, and where the service is rather too hurried and too slap-dash to suit the contemplative gourmet; but Marguery's has its special claim to fame as the place where the Sole Marguery was invented, and though I have eaten the dish in half a hundred restaurants, there is no place where it is so perfectly cooked as in the restaurant where it was first thought of, for nowhere else is the sauce quite as good or as strong.
Notta, 2 Bd. Poissoniere, and Noel Peters in the Passage des Princes, both have claims to celebrity for their cooking, and the fish dishes at the latter, the Filet de Sole Noel for instance, are a speciality. The Boeuf a la Mode, Rue de Valois, near the Palais Royale, is a place of good cookery.
There are two restaurants to which I generally go if I want good food but have not time to linger over it, having cut my time rather close when going to a theatre or to catch a train. One of these is Lucas's in the little square opposite the Madeleine, and the other is the Champeaux, Place de la Bourse. Lucas has rather an old-fashioned clientele and his restaurant is not very bright, but the cooking is good, and if in a hurry one is served very quickly. The Hareng Lucas is an exceptionally stimulating hors-d'oeuvre, and there is a selection of old brandies to choose from as liqueurs which I fancy cannot be surpassed at any restaurant in Paris. The Champeaux, with its garden and trees growing through the roof, is the restaurant of the Bourse. It has a good cook, it has its specialities of cuisine, and it has a particularly good cellar of wines. One can dine there in the leisurely manner in which a dinner should be eaten by sane men; but the maitres-d'hotel used to business men know that there are occasions when it is necessary to be in a hurry, and they can serve a dinner very quickly. At the Champeaux, which has much history behind it, the Chateaubriand was invented which gives eternal honour to the restaurant.
I am told that Sylvain's remains a good dining place, but I have not been within its doors since the days when it attained celebrity as a supper place in favour with the butterfly ladies of Paris.
Across the River
On the south side of the Seine there are three restaurants worthy the consideration of the gourmet,—the Tour d'Argent, La Peyrouse, and Foyot's. The Tour d'Argent is on the Quai de la Tourelle, just beyond the island on which Notre Dame stands. It is a little old-fashioned place with a narrow entrance hall and a low-ceilinged parlour. Frederic is its proprietor, and since Joseph of the Marivaux died Frederic remains the one great "character" in the dining world of Paris. In appearance he is the double of Ibsen, the same sweeping whiskers, the same wave of hair brushed straight off from the forehead. He is an inventor of dishes, and it is well to ask for a list of his "creations," which are of fish, eggs, meat, and fruit, and are generally named after some patron of the establishment,—Canape Clarence Mackay, Filet de Sole Gibbs, Filet de Lievre Arnold White, Oeufs Claude Lowther, Poire Wannamaker, and so on. A marquis, M. de Lauzieres de Themines, has written a long poem about Frederic, which is printed on the back of the list of "creations," and an artist has painted a portrait of the great man which will be shown to you if you have proved yourself a real gourmet. Madame Frederic, or his daughter, will hold the canvas for your inspection, and Frederic himself, brushing back his whiskers, will stand beside it in order that you may see what an excellent likeness it is. It is as well to interest Frederic in the ordering of your meal, and if you give him an idea of your requirements, he will select two or three of his "creations" which will make up a perfect meal. I always ask for a Filet de Sole Cardinal, which is one of his best dishes, and look to him to group a couple of other plats with it to make a perfect breakfast, for I look on the Tour d'Argent as being a better place to breakfast at than to dine at, owing to its distance from the centre of Paris. Frederic thinking out his dishes drops into a reverie and turns his eyes up to the ceiling. I once took a lady to breakfast at the Tour—she had selected it as being quite close to the Morgue, which she wanted to see after lunch, having a liking for cheerful sights—and she had the daring to interrupt Frederic's reverie. "And for the eggs?" I had said insinuatingly to the creator of dishes, and he had dropped into deepest thought. "Uffs a la plat," said the lady, who fancied we were both at a loss as to how eggs could be cooked. Frederic came back from the clouds and gave the lady one look. It was not a look of anger, or contempt, but simply an expression of pity for the whole of her sex. Frederic, as Joseph did, holds that a dinner to be good must be short, which is, I believe, the first axiom that every true gourmet should enunciate and hold by, and an excellent proof that he holds to his tenets was once given me. When the Behring Sea Conference sat in Paris, the American and English members used frequently to dine together after their labours. Lord Hannen had heard of the Tour d'Argent, and sent his secretary, a clever barrister, to order dinner there for all the members. He went to the Quai de la Tourelle, saw Frederic, and sketched out to him a regular Eaton Square dinner, two entrees, a joint, sorbet, game, an iced pudding, a savoury, and fruit. Frederic heard him out, and then very politely suggested that he should go elsewhere, for such a barbarous feast could not be served in the Tour d'Argent. If you are in great favour Frederic will cook you a dish himself, and will bustle into the room with the "creation" in his hands and great beads of perspiration, drawn out by the kitchen fire, on his broad brow. I am sorry, however, to have to write that the last time I saw Frederic, at the close of 1902, he was very ill. He complained of his chest, said that the weather oppressed him, and lamented the death of Joseph which had taken a friend and a brother artist away. His hair had lost its bold curve and his whiskers their glory. I told him in all sincerity that he must get over his malady, for that as there are so few "creators" and great maitres-d'hotel left we cannot spare one of the most original and most accomplished of them.
La Peyrouse on the Quai des Grands Augustins, is a little house with many small rooms. It is known to the students of the "Quartier" as "Le Navigateur." It is a favourite resort of the members of the Paris bar, has its special dishes, one of which is, as a matter of course, Filets de Sole La Peyrouse, and a most excellent cellar of Burgundies and white Bordeaux. The Cerons at 3 francs is excellent money's worth.
The Restaurant Foyot is almost opposite the Luxembourg Gallery, and is a very handy restaurant to dine at when going to the Odeon. Potage Foyot, Riz de Veau Foyot, Homard Foyot, and Biscuit Foyot are some of the dishes of the house, and all to be recommended. The anarchists once tried to blow up Foyot's with a bomb; but the only person injured was an anarchist poet, who has so far been false to his tenets as to dine in the company of aristocrats, and was tranquilly eating a Truite Meuniere, in company with a beautiful lady, when his friends outside let off their firework. The hors-d'oeuvre at Foyot's are particularly good. It is, however, a restaurant at which it is exceptionally difficult to get one's bill when one is in a hurry.
Of the restaurants in the Champs Elysees, Laurent's and Paillard's are the most aristocratic. At Laurent's I generally find in summer some of the younger members of the staffs of the Embassies breakfasting under the trees behind the hedge which shuts the restaurant off from the bustle of Paris outside. Of the special dishes of the house the Canard Pompeienne remains to me an especially grateful memory. It is a cold duck stuffed with most of the rich edible things of this world, foie gras predominating, and it is covered with designs in red and black on a white ground.
Paillard's bonbonniere, in the Champs Elysees, is in the hands of the company which also owns Maire's Restaurant, to which I have already alluded. M. Paillard and the company formed under his name settled a disagreement in the law courts, with the result that M. Paillard retained the restaurant at the corner of the Chaussee d'Antin as his property, and the company took possession of the Restaurant Maire and the Pavillion des Champs Elysees. This, however, is mere history, for the Pavillion serves its meals with all the quiet luxury of the parent house, and I have a memory of a Potage Creme d'Antin which was especially excellent.
Ledoyen's has attained a particular celebrity as the restaurant where every one lunches on the vernissage day of the Salon. At dinner-time, on a fine evening, every table on the stretch of gravel before the little villa is occupied, and the good bourgeois, the little clerk taking his wife and mother-in-law out to dinner, are just as much in evidence, and more so, than the "smarter" classes of Parisians. The service is rather haphazard on a crowded night, and scurrying waiters appeal to the carvers in pathetic tones to wheel the moving tables on which the joints are kept hot up to their particular tables. The food is good, but not always served as hot as it should be—the fault of all open-air dining places. The wine-list is a good one, and I have drunk at Ledoyen's excellent champagne of the good brands and the great years at a comparatively small price. Guillemin, who was cook to the Duc de Vincennes, brought Ledoyen's into great favour in the fifties of the last century.
The Bouillon Riche, just behind the Alcazar, with its girl waiters I have generally found even more haphazard than Ledoyen's. Its food is neither noticeably good nor is it indifferent.
The Ambassadeurs prides itself on being quite a first-class restaurant, and it is one of the special experiences of the foreigner in Paris to dine at one of the tables in the balcony looking towards the stage, and to listen to the concert while you drink your coffee and sip your fine champagne. I have kept the menu of one such dinner, very well cooked and well served in spite of the crowded balcony and general hubbub of the evening, on a Grand Prix night. What the amount of the bill was that the host of the party had to pay I did not inquire, but I feel sure that it was a very long one.
This is the menu:—
Melon. Potage Ambassadeurs. Hors-d'oeuvre. Truite Gelee Maconnaise. Ris de Veau Financiere. Demi-Vierge en Chaud-Froid. Poulets de Grain Rotis. Salade de Romaine. Asperges Froides. Coupes Jacques. Dessert. Petites Fraises.
The cold trout was excellent, and the wine was De St-Marceaux '89.
The Alcazar has a restaurant somewhat similar to that of the Ambassadeurs.
Chevillard's, at the Rond Point des Champs Elysees, is not an out-of-doors restaurant, but it is a favourite place to breakfast at on the way out to the races. The cooking is good. Sometimes the restaurant is crowded, and it is as well to secure a table in advance.
There are half-a-dozen cafes, farms where milk is sold, and other refreshment places in the Bois; but the two restaurants which the travelling gourmet is likely to dine at are the Pavillion d'Armenonville and the Chateau de Madrid. The first is very "smart," and the glass shelter which runs round the little house is filled on a summer night with men, all in dress-clothes, and ladies in flowered or feathered hats. The world and the half-world dine at adjacent tables, and neither section of Paris objects. The tables are decorated with flowers, and two bands, which play alternately, make music so softly that it does not interfere with conversation. The cooking is good, and the prices are rather high. There are tables under the trees surrounding the building, and some people dine at these; but "all Paris" seems to prefer to be squeezed into the least possible space under the glass verandah.
At the Chateau de Madrid the tables are set under the trees in the courtyard of the building, and the effect of the dimly seen buildings, the dark foliage, and the lights is very striking. The Madrid has always been an expensive place to dine at, but its reputation for cookery is good. Last year I dined at the Chateau one hot summer's night and found there M. Aubanel, who had left his little hotel at Monte Carlo, during the great heats, to take temporary command at the Madrid, striving to serve a great crowd of diners with an insufficient staff of waiters. I trust that the proprietors have made better arrangements since to meet any sudden inrush of guests. The Madrid has a capital cellar of wine.
On a race-morning I have eaten a little breakfast, well enough served, at the restaurant of the Cafe de la Cascade.
The fickle Parisian crowd changes its supping-places without any apparent cause. A few hundred francs spent in gilding a ceiling, a quarrel between two damsels in gigantic hats as to which of them ordered a particular table to be reserved, and the whole cloud of butterflies rises to settle elsewhere. Julien's, Sylvain's, La Rue's, the Cafe de La Paix, Maire's, Paillard's all had their time when there was not a vacant seat in their rooms at 1 A.M. Durand's, in the summer of '92, was the society supping-place. At the Cafe de Paris, where M. Mourier, a former maitre-d'hotel of Maire's reigns, the British matron and the travelling American gaze at the haute cocotterie—who patronise the right fork of the room as you enter. At Maxim's, any gentleman may conduct the band if he wishes to, and the tables are often cleared away and a little impromptu dance organised. At the Cafe Americain, the profession of the ladies who frequent it at supper-time is a little too obvious. You should take your wife to Durand's. She will insist on going to the Cafe de Paris. You should not take her to Maxim's, and you cannot take her to the Americain. Of course, the supping-places I have enumerated are but a few of the many, for there is no Early Closing Act in France, every restaurant in Paris keeps open till 2 A.M., and some later, and supper is to be had at all of them. Personally, I am never happier at supper-time than when I am sitting in the back room at the Taverne Pousset picking crayfish out of a wooden bowl where they swim in savoury liquid, pulling them to pieces, and eating them as they were eaten before forks and spoons put fingers out of fashion. The Restaurant des Fleurs, the newest of the Parisian restaurants, in the Rue St-Honore, is making a bid with its decoration in the "new art" style to capture those who sup.
Since Cubat in dudgeon gave up his restaurant in the Avenue of the Champs Elysees, there has been no prominent foreign restaurant in Paris. Cubat, whose restaurant in St. Petersburg is so well known, brought Russian cookery to Paris; but though the Parisians are fond enough of cheering for the Dual Alliance, they did not dip into their pockets to keep the Russian restaurant in existence. An expensive German restaurant, a relic of the last exhibition, showed its lights just off the great boulevards, but after a time disappeared. There are Viennese restaurants on the boulevards and in the Rue d'Hauteville, and Spanish and Italian establishments may be found by the curious who wish to impair their digestion. The Englishman or American who has been feeding on rich food for any length of time, often yearns for perfectly simple food. At Henry's, at the Club Restaurant, and at most of the English and American bars with which Paris is now studded, a chop is obtainable, and a whisky and soda which is not poison; but I, personally, when Pate de Foie Gras becomes a horror, truffles a burden, and rich sauces an abomination, go to one of the Tavernes, the Royale in the Rue Royale, or the Anglais in the Rue Boissy d'Anglas (where you get Lucas's food at lower prices than in the restaurant by the Madeleine), or into one of the many houses of plain cookery on the boulevards, and order the simplest and least greasy soup on the bill of fare, some plainly grilled cutlets, and some green vegetables. A pint of the second or third claret on the wine-card washes down this penitential repast. At Puloski's, an uninviting-looking little establishment in the Rue St-Honore, I have eaten excellent dishes of oysters cooked according to American methods, and that dry hash which boarding-house keepers across the Atlantic are supposed to serve perpetually to their paying guests, but which an American abroad is always glad to meet. You will find a great variety of oysters, Marennes, Ostendes, Zelandes, at Prunier's, in the Rue Duphot, and the dishes of the house—soup, sole, steak—are all cooked with oysters as a foundation, sauce, or garnish. Prunier's is the house at which the travelling gourmet generally tastes his first snails, the great Burgundian ones with striped shells, or the little gray fellows from the champagne vineyards. If you eat Prunier's oysters you should drink his white Burgundy. If you eat his snails, you should drink his red wine, for he has some excellent red Burgundy.
Most travellers at least once in their lives go the round of Montmartre and its Bohemian shows. I have dined with the great Fursy in the restaurant attached to the Treteau de Tabarin, and was given good substantial bourgeois cookery. I asked the singer of the "Chansons Rosses" how it was that he, who girds at all things bourgeois and commonplace, ran the restaurant on such simple and non-eccentric lines; and he shrugged his shoulders, which I took to mean that you may trifle with a man's intellect but not with his stomach. About two in the morning, in the upstairs room at the Treteau, there is often some amusement forward. Upstairs at the Rat Mort, you may dine in comfort with Soupe a l'Onion and Tournedos Rat Mort in the menu; and at the Abbaye de Theleme, and at the Restaurant Blanche in the place of that name, you will find the artists and sculptors of the Butte.
In the Quartier, Thurion's in the Boulevard St-Germain is an interesting restaurant for a wandering Anglo-Saxon to become acquainted with, for there he will see most of the young Americans and English who are climbing up the ladder of pictorial fame. It is a Parisian "Cheshire Cheese." The floors are sawdusted, the waiters rush about in hot haste, and the chickens stray in from the courtyard at the back and pick up the crumbs round the tables. The place has its traditions, and you can hear tales of Dickens and Thackeray from the plump lady who makes up the bills.
Good Cheap Restaurants
I feel tempted in connection with this heading to write as did the naturalist of snakes in Iceland; but besides the tavernes and bouillons, which give wonderful value for the money spent but do not require any lengthy mention in a book dealing with temples of the higher art, there are one or two interesting table-d'hote restaurants where the meals are very cheap. One of these is Philippe's, on the first floor of the Palais Royal, next door to the Petit Vefour, and another is the Diner Francais, 27 Bd. des Italiens.
The Pavillion Henri IV., on the terrace of St-Germain, where every travelling Briton and American breakfasts once during his summer stay in Paris, is "run" by the management of the Champeaux, and one gets very excellent cookery and service in consequence, the prices not being at all exorbitant. One groans, sitting at the little tables on the terraces and looking at the view, to think of the chances some of our hotels near London, with even finer views, throw away through lack of enterprise.
The Pavillion Bleu at St-Cloud, the proprietor of which, M. Moreaux, bought the greater portion of the "grands vins" of the Maison d'Or, deserves a special word of commendation.
FRENCH PROVINCIAL TOWNS
The northern ports—Norman and Breton towns—The west coast and Bordeaux—Marseilles and the Riviera—The Pyrenees—Provence—Aix-les-Bains and other "cure" places.
I propose to take you, my gastronomic reader, first on a little tour round the coast of France from north-east round to south-east, pausing at any port or any watering-place where there is any restaurant of any mark, and then to make a few incursions inland.
Calais is, of course, our starting-place, and here my experience of leaving the buffet at the Terminus and exploring in the town is that one goes farther and does not fare so well. The buffet at Calais always has had the reputation of being one of the best in Europe, and though the Englishman new landed after a rough passage generally selects clear soup and stewed chicken as his meal, it is quite possible to obtain an admirably cooked lunch or dinner in the room off the restaurant; and the cold viands, the cream cheese, the vegetables and fruit are all worthy of attention. The "wagons-restaurants" which are attached now to most of the express trains, no doubt have cut into the business of the buffet restaurant; but as a contrast to the ordinary British station refreshment- and dining-room the Calais buffet deserves to be mentioned.
At Boulogne there is a restaurant in the Casino, but I think it adds very little to the revenues of the establishment. Most people take their meals contentedly or discontentedly in their hotels, but the little restaurant on the pier, which used to belong to the widow Poirmeur but is now the Restaurant Garnier, with its miniature terrace and its windows which look out on to the waves when the tide is up, has an individuality of its own, and is one of the haunts of the gourmet who enjoys a meal with unusual surroundings. In the winter the little restaurant hibernates. If customers appear the wife of the proprietor cooks dinner or lunch for them, and cooks very fairly; but with the advent of summer a cook is engaged for the season, and it is a matter of importance to the sojourner in Boulogne whether that cook ranks as "fair" or "good." He generally is good. Fish, of course, is always fresh at Boulogne and generally excellent in quality, and the shell-fish are above suspicion—at least I never heard of anybody suffering from eating moules,—therefore a Sole Normande or any similar dish generally forms part of a dejeuner on the pier, and this with an entrecote and an omelette au rhum makes a fine solid sea-side feast. The buffet at the station, since it was taken in hand by the South-Eastern Railway, is not the dreadful place of ill-cooked food it used to be. At the terminus of the tramway which runs into the forest a little cabaret gives a simple meal, and the trip out and back is the pleasantest short excursion from Boulogne. At Wimille it is wise to inquire what charge the new hotel proposes to make before sitting down to a meal. Ambleteuse is another little watering-place to the north on the coast. Here the mid-day meal at the principal inn is lengthy if nothing else.
Following the coast along, Paris-Plage has not as yet developed any restaurant of note, and the inn at Etaples, which is the town on the railway whence the walk or drive to Paris-Plage has to be undertaken, is more famous for having given shelter to generations of artists, some of whom have paid their bills with sketches, than for its food, though some of the best pre-sale mutton in France comes from the fields over-flowed by the estuary at high tide. A goodly proportion of the shrimps and prawns one has to pay so highly for as hors-d'oeuvre in the restaurants of Paris come from Paris-Plage, Le Touquet, and their neighbour down the coast, Berk. Indeed, if any gourmet has a penchant for shrimps and asses' milk, Berk would be his paradise. Treport requires no description, but
is a place of importance, and in the days of the Second Empire Lafosse's Restaurant in the Grande Rue used to be one of the very best dining places in the provinces of France. Good cooking is now to be looked for from Cabois, 74 Grande Rue, from Beaufils, Rue de la Barre, and from Lefebvre, Rue de l'Hotel de Ville. M. Ducordet, the proprietor of the Grand Hotel, who was the happy man chosen to supply M. Felix Faure with a banquet when he visited Dieppe, caters for the Casino and the Golf Club. The Casino restaurant is worthy of all commendation. The buffet at the Gare Maritime is above the average of buffets in its cookery.
The restaurant of the Hotel Chateau at Puys, a mile and a half from Dieppe, is owned by Mons. Pelettier of local celebrity, who has collected an excellent cellar of wine.
At Pourville, two miles from Dieppe, Mons. Gras is responsible for the entertainment at the Hotel Casino. The restaurant has a special reputation, made by "Papa" Paul Graff, who was formerly one of the many chefs de cuisine of Napoleon III., and who left the Tuileries to keep the hotel. The proprietor is very proud of his kitchens and larders, and is delighted to show them to visitors.
is one of the towns in which the Englishman or American crossing to Southampton or coming thence often finds himself for some hours. Tortoni's in the market-place has a reputation for good cooking, but judging from the two or three dinners I have eaten there, both a la carte and the table-d'hote one at 5 francs, the cookery is of the good solid bourgeois order, eight courses and a pint of wine for one's money. In days long gone by there used to be this footnote to the carte du jour at Tortoni's, "Les hors-d'oeuvres ne se remplacent pas," which was translated for the benefit of the English, "The out-of-works do not replace themselves." Tortoni's Hotel Restaurant must not be confounded with the Brasserie Tortoni quite close to it, which is a bachelor's resort; but which I, as a bachelor, have found very amusing sometimes after dinner.
Frascati's Restaurant, an adjunct to the big hotel on the sea-shore, is the "swagger" restaurant of the place, and many a man who has come over by the midnight boat and has stayed for a bathe and a meal at Frascati's before going on to Paris by the mid-day train has breakfasted there in content. The Ecrevisses Bordelaises, the Croutes aux Champignons, the Salade Russe here have left me pleasant memories. In the winter the chef retires to Paris or elsewhere, and the restaurant is not to be so thoroughly trusted; and sometimes when a crowd of passengers are going across to Southampton by the night boat to catch an American steamer, I have found the attendance very sketchy, owing to the waiters having more work than they can do satisfactorily. The restaurant is in the verandah facing the sea.
So much from my own experience. Other people with larger knowledge all have a good word to say for Frascati's, but all a word of caution as to its prices. It is wise to look at the price of the champagnes, for instance, before giving an order. The official dinners at Havre are always given at Frascati's, and it is here that the British colony holds its annual banquet on the King's birthday. I append a menu of a dinner of ceremony at Frascati's which, though it is miles too long, is a very noble feast:—
Tortue claire a la Francaise. Creme Du Barry. Rissoles Lucullus. Caisses de laitances Dieppoise. Barbues dorees a la Vatel. Selle de Chevreuil Nemrod. Poularde du Mans Cambaceres. Terrines d'Huitres a la Joinville. Cailles de vigne braisees Parisienne. Granites a l'Armagnac. Faisans de Compiegne rotis. Truffes au Champagne. Salade Chrysantheme. Pains de pointes d'Asperges a la Creme. Turbans d'Ananas. Glace Frascati. Dessert.
The Hotel de Normandie is another hostel at which the cooking is good and the wines excellent. This is a menu of a table-d'hote diner maigre served there on Good Friday, and it is an excellent example of a meal without meat:—
Bisque d'Ecrevisses. Reine Christine. Filets de Soles Normandy. Nouillettes Napolitaine en Caisse. Saumon de la Loire Tartare. Sorbets Supreme Fecamp. Coquille de Homard a l'Americaine. Sarcelles sur Canape. Salade panachee. Asperges d'Argenteuil Mousseline. Petits Pois au Sucre. Glace Quo Vadis. Petits Fours. Corbeille de Fruits. Dessert.
The cooking at the Continental Hotel is reported as being good, but its wine-list does not meet with so much praise. The Burgundies, red and white, at the Hotel du Bordeaux are highly praised.
One of my correspondents sends me an account of Perrier's, a little restaurant, which I give in his own words. "The quaintest and most original place in Havre is a little restaurant on the quay, opposite where the Trouville boats start from. It is known equally well as 'Perier's' or the Restaurant des Pilotes. It is kept by one Buholzer, who was at one time chef at Rubion's in Marseilles. He afterwards was chef on one of the big Transatlantique boats, where he learnt to mix a very fair cocktail. The entrance is through a tiny cafe with sanded tiled floor. Thence a corkscrew staircase leads to a fair-sized room on the first floor. All the food you get there is excellent, and Bouillabaisse or Homard a l'Americaine 'constructed' by the boss, is a joy, not for ever, but in the case of the first named, for some time. The house does not go in for a very varied selection of wines, but what there is is good. Ask for their special roll." The same correspondent goes on to tell me that the proprietor of the Broche a Rotir at St-Adresse, who used to be his own chef, and attained much local celebrity, has sold the goodwill, but that the place is still to be commended, and that Bequet of the Restaurant Bequet can, if he likes, cook the best dinner in the department; but that you must find him in the mood.
Of cafes in Havre, the Cafe Prader, near the theatre, and the Paris are the two where the drinkables are sure to be of good quality.
At Rouen the gourmet has a right to expect the Caneton Rouennaise and the Sole Normande to be cooked to perfection; and outside the hotels, some of which have excellent cooking, there is a restaurant, the Francais, in the Rue Jacques le Lieur, a street which runs behind the Hotel d'Angleterre, parallel to the Quai de la Bourse. Of course the Rouen duck is not any particular breed of duck, though the good people of Rouen will probably stone you if you assert this. It is simply a roan duck. The rich sauce which forms part of the dish was, however, invented at Rouen. The delights of the Sole Normande I need not dilate on. A good bottle of Burgundy is the best accompaniment to the duck. The Restaurant de Paris, in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, is a very cheap restaurant, where you get a great deal to eat at dinner for 2 francs, and where you will find the Choux Farcies and other homely dishes of Normandy as well as the excellent little cream cheeses of the country.
Crossing the Seine, one is in the land of cider and Pont l'Eveque cheese. At Honfleur you will find a very good table-d'hote at the old-fashioned Cheval Blanc on the Quai; and at the Ferme St-Simeon up on the hill, in beautifully wooded ground, there is to be obtained some particularly good sparkling cider. Honfleur has a special reputation for its shrimps and prawns.
During the Trouville fortnight, when all the world descends upon Trouville, the various big hotels and the Casino have more clients than they really can cater for. At the Roches Noires one is likely to be kept waiting for a table, and at the Casino a harassed waiter thrusts a red mullet before one, when one has ordered a sole. The moules of Trouville are supposed to be particularly good, and also the fish. There are table-d'hote meals at the restaurants of the Helder and De la Plage, the second being the cheaper of the two, and food is to be obtained at the little Cafe Restaurant on the edge of the promenade des planches. But Trouville in the season may be taken to be exiled Paris in a fever, half as expensive again, and not half so "well done."
Of the little bathing-places immediately east of Trouville—Houlgate-Beuzeval, Dives, Cabourg—there is little or nothing to say. At Cabourg the Hotel des Ducs de Normandie has some kiosks with a full view of the sea, where it is pleasant to breakfast, and the Casino can always be taken for granted as a pis aller at all these little bathing-places. The quaintness of the old inn Guillaume le Conquerant at Dives counts for something, and the 5 franc table-d'hote dinner there is good of its kind.
Tripes a la mode de Caen may be a homely dish but it is not to be despised, and it can be eaten quite at its best in the town where it was invented. I have eaten it with great content at a bourgeois restaurant, opposite to the Church of St-Pierre, the Restaurant Pepin, if my memory serves me rightly, and a Sole Bordeaux to precede it. The proprietor, M. Chandivert, was very anxious that I should add a Caneton Rouennaise to the feast, but I told him that "to every town its dish." He gave me a capital pint of red wine, and impressed on me the fact that he had obtained a gold medal at some exhibition for his andouillettes. Caen is the town of the charcutiers, and you may see more good cold viands shown in windows, in a walk through its streets, than you will find anywhere else outside a cookery exhibition. Caen is an oasis in the midst of the bad cookery of Western Normandy; and the restaurant at the Hotel d'Angleterre and the Restaurant de Madrid are very much above the average of the restaurant of a French country town. In both restaurants you can dine and breakfast in the shade in the open air, the Madrid having a good garden, the Angleterre a great tent in the courtyard,—a welcome change from the stuffy rooms, full of flies, of most Normandy hotels. I have a most pleasant memory of a Homard Americaine, cooked at the Hotel d'Angleterre, which was the very best lobster I ever ate in my life. The old chef who made the fame of the Angleterre has retired, but his successor is said to show no falling off in the art of preparing a good dinner. I would suggest to the wayfarer to breakfast in the garden of the Madrid and dine at the Angleterre. There is a little restaurant, A la Tour des Gens d'Armes, on the left bank of the canal which is much frequented by students, and where an al fresco lunch is served at a very small price. The food is good for the money, and there is always a chance of finding some merry gathering there. A note of warning should be sounded as to the cider and vin ordinaire supplied as part of the table-d'hote dinners in Caen, and indeed everywhere in Normandy. There is almost invariably good cider to be had and good wine on payment, but the cider and wine usually put on the table rival each other as throat-cutting beverages. Vieux Calvados is an excellent pousse cafe. It reads almost like a fairy-tale to be able to recount that the delicious oysters from the coast-villages of Ouistreham and Courseulles can be bought at 50 centimes the dozen or very little more.
This calling-place for Atlantic steamers is a very likely place for the earnest gourmet to find himself stranded in for a day, and I regret that there is no gastronomic find to report there. A most competent authority writes thus to me on the capabilities of the place:—
"There are no restaurants, in the true sense of the word, in Cherbourg.
"The leading hotel, where most of the people go, and which is the largest, with the best cuisine and service, is the Hotel du Casino. This hotel is managed by Monsieur Marius, and though partially shut during the winter season, travellers can always get a good plain dinner there. During the summer season, that is from May till October, the hotel is fully open, and has a petits chevaux room, entry free of course, and also good military music in the gardens, twice a week. The gardens are also very prettily illuminated very often, whilst from time to time firework displays help to pass away the evenings. The dining-hall faces the only nice portion of beach in the town, and being entirely covered in with glass, is warm in winter and cool in summer, when it can all be open. The meals are usually table-d'hote, but it is possible also to order a dinner if one prefers to do so. Here also the traveller will find a little English spoken among the waiters and management, which may be useful to him. The wines are pretty good, but there is no very special brand for which the place is known; also good Scotch and Irish whisky can be obtained at a reasonable price; the hotel does not boast of any special plat either.
"The Hotel de France, another fair-sized hotel, is the one patronised mostly by the naval and military authorities of the town, but is not so amusing a place for the traveller to stay at or dine at; though I understand that the dinner to be obtained there is in every way satisfactory.
"Finally, I might mention two other hotels at which one can dine comfortably; these are the Hotel d'Amiraute and the Hotel d'Angleterre, at both of which a good plain dinner is served.
"The chief joint obtainable here to be recommended is of course the mutton, as Cherbourg is noted for its pre-sale all over France; but beyond this the food is of the usual ordinary kind to be obtained in most French towns of this size."
M. Roche, who made a little fortune in London in Old Compton Street, has taken a little hotel near Granville, and as he learned cooking under Frederic of the Tour d'Argent, he may be depended upon for an excellent meal.
Of the land of butter and eggs I have not much to write. Correspondents at St-Malo say a good word of the feeding both at the Hotel de l'Univers and the Hotel du Centre et de la Paix; but I cannot speak of either of these from personal knowledge, nor do I know anything of Dinard, though it is said that the best cookery in the province is found there. Cancale of course has its oyster-beds, and the esculent bivalve can be eaten within sight of the mud-flat on which it erstwhile reposed. The one restaurant in this part of the world for which every one has a good word is that of Poulard Aine at Mont St-Michel, where there is a cheap table-d'hote and where a good meal a la carte is also to be obtained.
Artichokes, prawns, potatoes, langouste, eggs, lobsters, crabs, are good all along the Breton coast; and at Quimper, at the Hotel de l'Epee, you can—if you are in luck—get fresh sardines.
Here is a typical Breton menu, one of the meals at the Hotel des Bains de Mer, Roscoff:—
Artichauts a l'Huile. Pommes de terre a l'Huile. Porc frais froid aux Cornichons. Langouste Mayonnaise. Canards aux Navets. Omelette fines Herbes. Filet aux Pommes. Fromage a la Creme. Fruits, biscuits, etc. Cidre a discretion.
This is rather a terrible mass of food ranged in the strangest order, but I insert it to show the traveller in Brittany that he need never think his meal ended when he reaches the omelette, and that he had better take a gargantuan appetite with him.
Apart from being a good homely place to stay at, La Villa Julia at Pont Aven is worth a visit, for it has been the temporary home of many of the greatest French painters, notably poor Bastien Lepage. They are welcome, and are provided with studios, only being charged 5 francs a day "pension." "The country is charming" writes an enthusiastic correspondent "and one lingers there, and the food is excellent. Even were it not, dear old Mlle. Julia is worth a journey. She is one of the most delightful of French landladies. In the old inn the walls of one large room are covered with pictures and sketches given her by her chers artistes."
This great naval town has better cafes than it has dining or lunching places; the Cafe Brestois in the Rue de Siam, and the Grand Cafe in the same street being both good. Besides the restaurants attached to the Hotels des Voyageurs, Rue de Siam, Continentale, and de France in the Rue de la Mairie, there are the Restaurant Aury and the Brasserie de la Marine, both on the Champ de Bataille, but I have no details concerning them.
Skipping Nantes as being out of the route of the Anglo-Saxon abroad, though in the Place Grasselin the Francais and the Cambronne both deserve a word, and the Plages d'Ocean which lie between Nantes and Bordeaux as being purely French, though Rochefort has a European reputation for its cheese, and Marennes for its oysters, I step down from the platform to make room for my co-author A.B., who will take up the parable as to
Bordeaux is, of course, the home of claret, and good feeding goes with good liquor, the combination being essential. The result is that here you can procure a good dinner with the best of wines, which being consumed, so to say, on the spot where they have matured, are in perfection both as to flavour and condition.
The Hotel Restaurant du Chapon Fin, under the management of MM. Dubois and Mendionde, is perhaps the best in the town. Here an excellent dinner a la carte is to be had and the service is tres soignee. The cellar comprises the finest wines of the Gironde, Lafite, Haut Brion, Latour, Margaux Leoville, etc., with Pommery, Mumm, Cliquot as champagnes. But to my idea, any one asking for champagne at Bordeaux would order a pork pie at Strasbourg. The Chapon Fin is fairly expensive, but good food and good Lafite are not given away. The appointments of the hotel are excellent.
The Cafe de Bordeaux is a more popular establishment with brilliant decorations, and if you do not wish for an a la carte dinner, you are provided with a very good "set" dejeuner for 4 francs. Dinner can be had for 5 francs, with a concert thrown in.
Another good hotel and restaurant with fairly moderate terms is the Bayonne, also boasting of a fine cellar of wine and service a la carte. In fact many people aver that at the Bayonne one can get as good if not a better dinner than at any other restaurant in Bordeaux.
The Hotel des Princes et de la Paix has the Restaurant Sansot attached to it, which is quite good.
The Restaurant de Paris, situated on the lovely Promenade des Allees de Tourny, is a first-class establishment with very moderate prices, where a capital dejeuner can be obtained for 2 francs 50 centimes, or a dinner for 3 francs. The proprietor, Mons. Debreuil, was chef at some of the best cafes in Paris, and he has a clientele of many well-known epicures in Bordeaux.
All these restaurants have saloons for private parties in case you require them.
The principal specialite of Bordeaux, besides claret, is lampreys, which, when cooked a la Bordelaise, are about as rich and luscious a dish as a most ardent candidate for a bilious attack can desire. If you are there in the autumn, don't forget to order Cepes a la Bordelaise.
To the above of my worthy confrere, I would only add that the Chapon Fin is a winter garden, somewhat resembling the Champeaux Restaurant in Paris; there are rockeries and ferns, and a great tree-trunk runs up to the roof, the foliage and branches being no doubt outside. A speciality is the Potage Chapon Fin, a vegetable soup which is excellent. The restaurant of the Bayonne is in a great conservatory. Judging from the few meals I have eaten at each, I should class the Chapon Fin and the Bayonne as being equal in cookery. The first floor of the Cafe de Bordeaux is now decorated with mirrors and white walls, after the manner of the chic Parisian restaurants, but the Englishman who wishes to drink whisky and soda there—an unholy taste in a wine country—and who demands a special brand and Schweppe's soda, should ask how much he is going to be charged for it before he commits himself.
Of cooking at Arcachon there is nothing in particular to be said. The place has a celebrity for its oyster-beds, and a great number of the oysters we eat in England have been transplanted from the bay at Arcachon to the beds in British waters.
The average of cookery in the hotels at Biarritz is very good, for the competition is very keen, and as money is spent by the handful in this town on the bay where the Atlantic rolls in its breakers, any hotel which did not provide two excellent table-d'hote meals would very soon be out of the running. In the basement of the building in which is the big Casino, "Mons. Boulant's Casino," as the natives call it, is a restaurant where a table-d'hote lunch and dinner are served; but the restaurant of Biarritz is the one which Ritz has established on the first floor of the little Casino, the Casino Municipal, where one breakfasts in a glazed-in verandah overlooking the Plage and the favourite bathing-spot, and at dinner one looks across to the illuminated terrace of the other Casino. The decoration of this restaurant is of the simplest but at the same time of the most effective kind, being of growing bamboos which form green canopies above the tables. Biarritz depends but little on the surrounding country for its food, as the Pays Basque gives few good things to the kitchen. Fish is the one excellent thing that Biarritz itself contributes to all the menus, and the Friture du Pays is always excellent. Here is a menu of a little dinner for three at the Ritz. The Minestrone is an excellent Italian soup (which, by the way, Oddenino of the Imperial in London makes better than I have tasted it anywhere else out of Italy); the veal, I fancy, came from Paris, the ortolans from the far south:—
Melon. Minestron Milanaise. Friture du Pays. Carre de Veau braise aux Cepes. Ortolans a la broche. Salade de Romaine. Coupes d'Entigny.
I have not kept any bill for this, but I know that I regarded the total as moderate in a town where all things in September are at gambler's prices. The Royalty, in the main street at Biarritz, is the afternoon gathering place for the young bloods, who there drink cooling liquids through straws out of long tumblers, while the ladies hold their parliament at tea-time in Miremont the confectioner's.
Once more I step down from the platform to give place to my colleague A.B.
Two of the best hotels in Marseilles, with restaurants attached to them, are the Noailles and the Hotel du Louvre; the latter is owned and supervised by Mons. Echenard, who with Mons. Ritz helped to create the popularity of the Savoy Restaurant in London, and is also his coadjutor in the management of the Carlton Restaurant; it is needless to remark that any cuisine that Mons. Echenard takes in hand is worthy of attention. Mons. Echenard has lately acquired the Reserve at Marseilles—a very pretty cafe and garden about half-an-hour's drive from the Cannebiere, along the Corniche Road; it stands in a commanding position, with a lovely view of the bay and the surrounding mountains. It has furnished apartments attached to it, and for any one having to stay at Marseilles, either while waiting for the Messageries Maritimes liner or for the arrival of a yacht, it is infinitely preferable to the hot, stuffy town, and would be an excellent winter quarter. Like many similar seaside cafes abroad, it has its own parc au coquillages or shell-fish tanks, and you here get the world-renowned Bouillabaisse in perfection.
The best shell-fish are the praires and the clovisses, about the same size as walnuts or little neck clams; the clovisses are the largest, and rather take the place of oysters when the latter are not in season, in the same way the clam does in America; others are mussels, oysters, and langoustes. Langoustes differ as much as a skinny fowl from a Poularde de Mans. Mons. Echenard gets his from Corsica, and you then learn how they can vary. He has also a Poularde Reserve en Cocotte Raviolis, which is a dish to be remembered; and a small fat sole caught between Hyeres and Toulon is not to be despised.
I am free to confess that the Tutti Frutti de la Mare, or stew consisting of the many lovely and variegated small fish that are caught in those waters, has no charm for me. Personally, I would as soon eat a surprise packet of pins, but of course, chacun a son gout. Anyway, if you are stranded in Marseilles for an afternoon or longer, you could go to many a worse place than the Reserve.
I suppose it is not necessary for me to add to A.B.'s discourse any description of what Bouillabaisse is, or how the Southerners firmly believe that this dish cannot be properly made except of the fish that swim in the Mediterranean, the rascaz, a little fellow all head and eyes, being an essential in the savoury stew, along with the eel, the lobster, the dory, the mackerel, and the girelle. Thackeray has sung the ballad of the dish as he used to eat it, and his recette, because it is poetry, is accepted, though it is but the fresh-water edition of the stew. If you do not like oil, garlic, and saffron, which all come into its composition, give it a wide berth. The Brandade, which is a cod-fish stew and a regular fisherman's dish, is by no means to be despised.
Before leaving the subject of Marseilles and its cookery and restaurants, let me record the verdict of a true gourmet and Englishman who always lives the winter through in Marseilles. He writes me that in Marseilles itself there are no restaurants worthy of the name, the best being Isnard's (Hotel des Phoceens), Rue Thubaneau, and another good one that of the Hotel d'Orleans, Rue Vacon, where the proprietor and the cook are brothers and charming people.
Those adventurous souls who wish to eat the fry of sea-urchins and other highly savoury dishes, with strange shell-fish and other extraordinary denizens of the deep as their foundation, should go to Bregaillon's at the Vieux Port. It is necessary to have a liking for garlic and a nose that fears no smells for this adventure; but if you bring your courage to the sticking point, order a dozen oursins, a petit poelon, which is a tournedos in a casserole, and a grive. Cassis is the white wine of the house; and it has some good Chateau Neuf de Pape.
Cannes is the first important town of the Riviera that the gourmet flying south comes to, and at Cannes he will find a typical Riviera restaurant. The Reserve at Cannes consists of one glassed-in shelter and another smaller building on the rocks, which juts out into the sea from the elbow of the Promenade de la Croisette. The spray of the wavelets set up by the breeze splash up against the glass, and to one side are the Iles des Lerins, St-Marguerite, and St-Honorat, where the liqueur Lerina is made, shining on the deep blue sea, and to the other the purple Montagnes de l'Esterel stand up with a wonderful jagged edge against the sky. Amongst the rocks on which the building of the restaurant stand are tanks, and in these swim fish, large and small, the fine lazy dorades and the lively little sea-gudgeon. One of the amusements of the place is that the breakfasters fish out with a net the little fishes which are to form a friture, or point out the bigger victim which they will presently eat for their meal. The cooking is simple and good, and with fish that thirty minutes before were swimming in the green water, an omelette, a simple dish of meat, and a pint of Cerons, or other white wine, a man may breakfast in the highest content looking at some of the sunniest scenes in the world. There is always some little band of Italian musicians playing and singing at the Reserve, and though in London one would vote them a nuisance, at Cannes the music seems to fit in with the lazy pleasure of breakfasting almost upon the waves, and the throaty tenor who has been singing of Santa Lucia gets a lining of francs to his hat. Most of the crowned heads who make holiday at Cannes have taken their breakfast often enough in the little glass summer-house, but the prices are in no way alarming. The ladies gather at tea-time at the white building, where Mme. Rumplemayer sells cakes and tea and coffee; and the Gallia also has a clientele of tea-drinkers, for whose benefit the band plays of an afternoon.
At Nice the London House is one of the classical restaurants of France, and one may talk of it in comparison with the great houses of the boulevards of the capital. I am bound to confess that the great salon with its painted panels, its buffet and its skylight screened by an awning, is not a lively room; but the attendance is quiet, soft-footed, and unhurried, and the cooking is distinctly good. It has of course its specialites du maison, and classical dishes have been invented within its walls; but the man who wants to take his wife out to dine, and who is prepared to pay a couple of sovereigns for the meal, will find that he need not exceed that amount. Here is the menu of a little dinner for two which I ordered last winter at the restaurant. With a pint of white wine, a pint of champagne, a liqueur, and two cups of coffee, my bill was 46 francs.
Hors-d'oeuvre. Potage Lamballe. Friture de Goujons. Longe de veau aux Celeris. Gelinotte a la Casserole. Salade Romaine et Concombre. Dessert.
The little Restaurant Francais, on the Promenade des Anglais, is one of the cheeriest places possible to breakfast at on a sunny morning. In the garden are palm-trees, and the tables are further shaded by great pink and white umbrellas. A scarlet-coated band of Hungarians plays inoffensive music under the verandah of the house, and the page and the chasseur water the road before the garden constantly with a fire-hose, in order that the motor-cars which go rushing past shall not smother the breakfast-eaters with dust. Broiled eggs and asparagus points, a trout fresh from the river Loup—if such a fish is on the bill of fare—and some tiny bird either roasted or en casserole, with some light white wine, is a suitable meal to be eaten in this garden of a doll's-house restaurant. The house has its history. It was formerly the Villa Wuertz Dundas, where so many art treasures were collected in the salons Louis XV. and XVI. Mons. Emile Favre, the new proprietor, has added considerably to the old house.
The Restaurant du Helder, the white building in the arcade of the big Place, has good cookery, and its table-d'hote meals are excellent.
On regatta days the world of fashion occupies all the tables of the restaurant on the jetee at breakfast-time.
Two resorts patronised by the young sparks of Nice are the Regence and the Garden Bar. The subjoined menu shows what the Regence can do when a big dinner is given there:—
Hors-d'oeuvre varies. Consomme a la d'Orleans. Bouchees Montglas. Filets de soles Joinville. Piece de boeuf Renaissance. Chaud-froid de foie gras. Petits pois a la Francaise. Faisans de Boheme a la broche. Salade nicoise. Mousse Regence. Patisserie. Dessert.
The great confectioner's shop in the Place Massena and the Casino Municipal are always crowded with ladies at tea-time.
At Beaulieu the Restaurant de la Reserve is famous. It is just a convenient distance for a drive from Monte Carlo, and the world and the half-world drive or motor out there from the town on the rock and sit at adjacent tables in the verandah without showing any objection one to the other. The restaurant is a little white building in a garden, with a long platform built out over the sea, so that breakfasting one looks right down upon a blue depth of water. There are tables inside the building, but the early-comers and those wise people who have telephoned for tables take those in the verandah if the day be sunny. There are tanks into which the water runs in and out with each little wave and in these are the Marennes oysters and other shell-fish. Oysters, a Mostelle a l'Anglaise—Mostelle being the especial fish of this part of the world—and some tiny bit of meat is the breakfast I generally order at the Beaulieu Reserve; but the cook is capable of high flights, and I have seen most elaborate meals well served. The proprietors are two Italians who also own the neighbouring hotel, and who take their cook with them to Aix-les-Bains when they migrate during the summer to the restaurant of one of the casinos there. A little band of Italian singers and musicians add to the noise of this very merry little breakfasting place.
At Villefranche there are two unpretentious inns where men with an unnatural craving for Bouillabaisse go and eat it, and return with a strong aroma of saffron and garlic accompanying them, saying that they have partaken of the real dish, such as the fishermen cook for themselves, and not the stew toned down to suit civilised palates.
The first time that I stayed for a week or so in the principality, I lodged at the Hotel du Monte Carlo, on the hill below the Post Office. It was a dingy hotel then, not having been redecorated and brightened up as it has been now; but it had the supreme attraction to a lieutenant in a marching regiment of being cheap. When the first day at dinner I cast my eye down the wine-list, I found amongst the clarets wines of the great vintage years at extraordinarily low prices, and in surprise I asked the reason. The manager explained to me that the hotel was in the early days used as a casino, and that the wines formed part of the cellar of the proprietor—whether Mons. Blanc, or another, I do not remember. Most of them were too old to bear removal to Paris, and they were put down on the wine-list at ridiculously low prices in order to get rid of them, for, as the manager said, "In Monte Carlo the winners drink nothing but champagne, the losers water or whisky and soda." So it is. In Monte Carlo, when a man has won, he wants the very best of everything, and does not mind what he pays for it; when he has lost he has no appetite, and grudges the money he pays for a chop in the grill-room of the Cafe de Paris. The prices at the restaurants are nicely adapted to the purses of the winners; and there is no place in the world where it is more necessary to order with discrimination and to ask questions as to prices. At Monte Carlo it is the custom to entirely disassociate your lodging from your feeding, and you may stay at one hotel and habitually feed at the restaurant of another without the proprietor of the first being at all unhappy. Ciro's in the arcade is a restaurant only, and is very smart and not at all cheap. A story is told that an Englishman, new to Monte Carlo and its ways, asked the liveried porter outside Ciro's whether it was a cheap restaurant. "Not exactly cheap," said the Machiavelian servitor, "but really very cheap for what you get here." On a fine day grand duchesses and the haute cocotterie beseech Ciro to reserve tables for them on the balcony looking out on the sea, and unless you are a person of great importance or notoriety, or of infinite push, you will find yourself relegated to a place inside the restaurant. At dinner there is not so much competition. Ciro himself is a little Italian, who speaks broken English and has a sense of humour which carries him over all difficulties. Every day brings some fresh story concerning the little man, and a typical one is his comforting assurance to some one who complained of an overcharge for butter. "Alla right" said Ciro complacently, "I take him off your bill and charge him to the Grand Duke. He not mind." The joke is sometimes against Ciro, as when, anxious to have all possible luxuries for a great British personage who was going to dine at the restaurant, and knowing that plover's eggs are much esteemed in England, he obtained some of the eggs, cooked them, and served them hot. Ciro's Restaurant originally was where his bar now is; but when the Cafe Riche, almost next door, was sold, he bought it, redecorated it, and transferred his restaurant to the new and more gorgeous premises, putting his brother Salvatore—who, poor fellow, has since died—in charge of the bar which he established in his old quarters. I cannot put my hand on the menu of any of the many breakfasts I have eaten at Ciro's, so I borrow a typical menu from V.B's. interesting little book Ten Days at Monte Carlo. He and three friends ate and drank this at dejeuner:—