“Eating” at Flunch

The other day we went out with a French friend of ours for lunch. She wanted us to try the all you can eat mussels and french fries at the local outpost of the French chain Flunch. As my luck would have it, the offer was valid only on weekends and evenings, so we had to go with their normal offerings. It may be here that I have lost all respect for the French culture and civilization. (Seriously!)

How does it work at Flunch? Well, first you enter into the area with the cold foods. Cheese, desserts, bread and drinks. There you can choose whatever you want to accompany your delicious (F)lunch. You pass through the cash register, pay, and get a ticket for whatever your hot entree is. Then, depending on your main dish, they either have it ready and waiting or grill it up for you at the moment. Finally, you can go to town with their selection of side dishes.

Passing by the salads and desserts, I noticed how incredibly sad the salads looked. I mean, this is stuff out of a hospital canteen. Damn, you thought your school lunches were nasty? Take a look at the cold chicken with gelatinous, wrinkly yellow skin at Flunch. On the other hand, the desserts did not look bad, but I didn’t want to tempt fate. The last stop before paying is the all-important breadbasket. Since we got there quite late, the only baguettes left were mangled and/or broken. Much to our surprise, there weren’t any tongs to pick up the bread with! We had already touched 3 baguettes to pick a decent one, then we froze. WE had touched 3, who knows how many others had touched the same baguette. Thanks, but no thanks.

On to the main dishes! With our tickets we all went to our respective stations. I chose the “Colin d’Alaska all’italiano” a.k.a. breaded pollock with “italian” herbs. The fish was one of the dishes that was already ready. It wouldn’t have been worse than any other frozen fish filet, but let’s just say it’s best not to let breaded fish sit. The bottom was sog city. The other half got an “XL” steak hache, which is basically a thin hamburger. When he sat down to eat it, it was rare in the middle. Sorry, but we aren’t risking our lives here at Flunch.

Flunch offers all-you-can-eat veggies as an accompaniment to all meals. The brave, or vegetarian, can get this option as a meal for just 5.50. Let’s simply say the signs posted out in front of Flunch featuring steamed broccoli, fluffy rice and other veg yums are NOT representative of reality. There were French fries. The fries were good. There were other things too, but guess what? You can’t screw up fries. Thankfully.

To my surprise, the Flunch was PACKED. We literally had to search the huge “restaurant” to find seating. ARE WE SERIOUS HERE? The French are supposed to be bona-fide gourmets, are they not? Aren’t they supposed to enjoy the most refined cuisine in the world? What is this farce then? Eating dangerously undercooked hamburgers and soggy frozen fish filets? I have been trying to understand the French for about two years now. Flunch just makes them even harder to understand. If anyone has any insight into this conundrum, I need to hear from you. Help me!

In the meantime, stay away from Flunch.


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