Despite a slightly disappointing start with breakfast, I ended my birthday with a fabulous dinner at Claudette. My friend Q was treating that evening and we both had been wanting to check out the restaurant so it made perfect sense to go there.
Claudette serves French (Provençal) cuisine with a Middle Eastern bent. There are so many delicious looking items on the menu and it really was hard to decide. In the end, between the two of us, there was a starter, two hors d’oeuvres, two entrées, two sides and one dessert. Just like with Q’s birthday dinner at Cosme last month, looks were deceiving and there really was a lot of food at our table.
First up was the Pistounade, a basil almond tapenade. It was similar to a pesto and served with a basket of warm garlic flatbread. Very delicious and it felt healthy. The hors d’oeuvres came out at the same time: charred baby octopus for me and the Autumn Salad for Q. These were pretty big plates considering; we thought they were going to be smaller dishes, more similar to tapas but they were practically full meals themselves.
Choosing an entrée was a tough choice since there were so many good options. I was drawn to the Chicken Tagine since I haven’t had one in a very long time and Q chose the Bouillabaisse. The plates that came out were enormous; my dish was served in a traditional tagine and it was a very huge portion considering how much food we ate before the entrées arrived. The couscous was excellent; it wasn’t dry and very tasty, having absorbed much of the juices that came from the chicken. I could eat just that alone and have been happy. I did sample a bit of the Bouillabaisse and that was terrific too. And we really should have stopped ordering there but we wanted to try the sides as well so we ordered the grilled eggplant and the frites with ras el hanout (served with an aioli). There really was no way to eat it all and I ended up taking most of my tagine home, and Q took the remaining Pistoundae and flatbread (we finshed one basket and they brought out another).
Of course, one cannot leave out dessert. When the menu arrived, most of the sweets were either dairy or chocolate based. After all of the savoury dishes, we really wanted something light. We had settled on the orange blossom creme brulée when our waitress told us the dessert du jour was a baked apple served on puff pastry and topped with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. She likened it to a deconstructed apple pie. Fruit! And it was totally what we wanted. We devoured most of it before our tea and dessert wine arrived at the table. That was definitely the best way to end the meal.