Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Snotty Service & Mediocre Moules

Damn.  I was really hoping I wouldn't have to write a negative restaurant review, especially only 2 days into our holiday in Saint Jean de Monts.  I did my research but still ended up in a restaurant that needs a Manuel Injection to make it hit the pinnacle of good food and service...

We had a very lazy day, marked only by the consumption of a gorgoeus Fougasse aux Lardons with a giant salad for lunch and a quick trip to the screaming-child crowded non-reclining sunlounger pool area (god we are such snobs!).  I had planned to cook dinner, but a banjaxed BBQ put a halt to my plans so The Hubs told me he was bringing me out to dinner.  Our pesky Garmin Nuvi 250 SatNav was still acting up & not recognising anywhere within 1000km, so we just kept turning right at the roundabouts and ended up on the Avenue de la Mer.  I had checked out some relatively decent restaurants thanks to the StJDeM website and we recognised Le Colonial from the printout, and grabbbed a parking spot on the very crowded seafront at 7pm.

The terrace was packed - always a good sign... so we waited at the entrance, as you do, and waited for be served.  Silly us.  A group of 3 locals barged past us, walked up to one of the staff and asked for a table.  Of course, they were served straight away while we waited... and waited... and waited.  Eventually the stereotypical lanky narky waiter (the pure opposite of the lovely Manuel) snorted in our direction & frisbeed some menus at us.  Which we read and re-read.  Seven times, just to be sure.  Eventually, he rocked up to our table, all cheekbones and attitude to ask "eh, what do you want to eeeet?".  Feck you, skinny lad, my French is a meeelion times better than your English so out went the F&B order, much to his surprise. Dat's roight... I do know how to order a prix fixe and ask for a pint for The Hubs en Francais...
20 minutes later, the drinks showed up and I made that 250ml pichet of super-sour Rose last the whole night as we weren't offered anything else...

We ordered the €18.40 set menu as the choice suited us both

I translated the menu for The Hubs and let him choose first.  To my surprise, he opted for the Croustade de Fruits de Mer - a little seafood casserole and then (as usual) the Bavette - steak in a shallot sauce.  I had the house salad & the Moules Frites.

The French adore their big glass plates and this brasserie was no exception - they were the size of hubcaps in jewel shades of red and purple.  The Hubs casserole came in an earthenware marmite and was full of mussels, white fish and squid with mushrooms.  My salad was composed of beetroot batons with grated carrot & greens with a really light garlicky dressing - both were gorgeous.

The mains arrived and initally looked really promising - the Bavette was perfectly cooked and my Moules were gorgeous... until I got a gobful of grit.  That is something that I really can't stand (never mind the large proportion of closed mussels in my pot) and it put me right off the rest of them.  Boo hiss...

For dessert, I had dark chocolate & pistachio icecream, and The Hubs had the Molleux au Chocolate with a Creme Anglaise.  They were both delicious and my icecream arrived in a special 3-scoop glass plate branded with the Carte d'Or logo - a really pretty way of serving their product.

Our total bill came to €47 - €37 for the food & €10 for a large beer and a 25cl pichet of rose.  A reasonable price but ruined by the service

Restaurant Brasserie Le Colonial

37, Esplanade de la Mer
85160 St Jean de Monts
Tel :


  1. Oh crikey Baba this isn't looking good! I'm on tenterhooks now waiting for the rest :) It's funny that we all go on about bad restaurants here in Ireland and how hard it must be for tourists but from what I saw in France we aren't the only ones. Such a shame. We ended up BBQing most nights - those gorgeous chicken brochettes from HyperU :)

  2. Am loving these posts, feel like I'm having holidays vicariously through you :D

    Hopefully things pick up on the food service front - eek!

  3. Oh no, there is nothing worse than bad service, except bad service on your holidays. Hope it improves for you.

  4. Quick! Rush to the Post Office, I'm sending Manuel out first class x

  5. are you still there? I thoroughly recommend Senderens in Paris....is awesome...service was tremendous...