As the mad summer season fades and we have time to catch our breath, I am happy to post that Le restaurant de Montcléra has not only survived its first three months of opening, but is thriving, winning its own loyal clientele, and looking forward to a winter season of delicious lunches and sociable theme nights…
We survived a fully booked staff training dinner, when the worst seen tempest in several summers hit the terrace just as we were trying to seat 60 people at the same time – lessons learnt, but at least they didn’t see the storm that arrived actually in the kitchen (through the lights!) the day before during prep…
We survived our gendarme visit with all contracts and verifications in place (despite the many last minute arguments with different bodies who could not agree with each other) – I wanted a photo taken with the smart gendarme in his powder blue matching flak-jacket and shirt, and range of weaponry, but didn’t dare ask!
We survived a suspected heart attack in the middle of a busy Saturday night service, complete with flashing lights everywhere and a table full of Pompiers coming to the rescue (thank goodness!)
The next Saturday we survived doing a Spit roast for a wedding in 40plus° heat
and the one after that we had champagne bottles exploding in the cellar (probably because of the same heat.)
We have learnt to speak kindly to a temperamental new Italian oven that was once burning all crostinis and pavlovas – now producing food looking fabulous
We managed to feed 93 extra people at the last minute for a menu for the music festival at the chateau – plus another unexpected 40 turning up in the restaurant itself (note to self, ask to be in complete charge of the food for the festival next year!)
And along the way we have established fabulous suppliers, have enjoyed using as much clean and crisp organic produce as possible (thank you Les jardins de la mouline and Ferme de Lalgas) and are improving our dishes every day to provide fresh and simple menus . We have explained what pies are to locals on the weekend we sold 200 of them, and have them enjoying fish and chips on Friday lunchtimes. Relaxed folk are appreciating coffee and cake (with wifi!) in the mornings, and everyone agrees the puddings are the best part of the menu!
and the cheerful greeting you will always get when you arrive at our door…
So, three months on, we are now looking forward to being open at lunchtimes, taking bookings for evenings only, doing the occasional Sunday lunch and promoting our first wine tasting dinner (Sat 10th October, details to follow) oh, and having time to finish the website so you can look up our information anytime, promise!