Breaks my heart to write a bad review, but sometimes you just can’t help yourself. I know this review will seem like “lunch from hell,” but…it kind of was.
Last Monday, we visited Le Cocon in the quaint village of Tourettes sur Loup. We arrived there around 1.30, which is a smidgeon late for lunch in France. (Late, but not too late. You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant that would turn you away at that hour though!) We asked the waitress if it was possible to get a table for 2. She hesitated to seat us, went to ask the kitchen, and finally showed us to our seats.
Perusing the menu, Le Cocon offers simple Niçois/Provençal style cuisine at affordable prices. There were the traditional stuffed vegetables, ravioli, and lots of salads. I chose to go with the house speciality, which is a chickpea crepe stuffed with ratatouille. Noting their fries are homemade, I ask for an order of them too. The other half went with the plate of the day, roasted lamb with french fries. Oh, and two cold ones to wash it all down.
As we were waiting for the beers, I notice that my fork is encrusted with food. Yikes. Good thing I don’t get grossed out all that easily and simply asked for a replacement. A few minutes later, the waitress comes with the beers. As I go to pour my delicious, frosty Weissbier, I notice the glass is dirty too. I’m not talking about water streaks here people. I’m talking about water streaks AND little bits of food too. Good thing I don’t mind drinking from a bottle.
Now we wait. And wait. And wait some more. It seemed quite strange to be waiting for so long (i.e. more than 45 minutes) when there were only 3 tables occupied! Since we had no where in particular to be, we continued to parsimoniously sip our beers and nibble on our oily peanuts. After (no lie!) 50 minutes, our plates arrive! Hurrah!
I tucked into mine. To be honest, it could have been good. The earthy flavors of the chickpea crepe mix well with the vegetables in the ratatouille. However, I notice the top side is a bit charred. Out of curiosity’s sake, I flip that bad boy over and WHOA! Welcome to the dark side. It was way too burnt for me to eat. As for the side dishes, isn’t it silly to serve baked (?) tomatoes and zucchini alongside a dish that features none other than….tomatoes and zucchini?! They were incredibly oily and not salted at all. The fries, much to my chagrin, were, surprise, surprise, oily and not salted at all.
Concurrently to my unpleasant surprise, the other half had his very own in store for him. The roasted lamb he ordered was not up to snuff. There was the majority that was super well-done, parts that were raw and everything in between. Gristle abounded. Seeing as it was not correctly cooked, he refused to eat undercooked meat. (By the way, he’s a chef and appreciates adherence to food safety standards.)
We very politely tell the waitress of the problem. Like, really, really politely. She runs to the kitchen to figure out what to do. The chef offers to re-cook our meals for us. We get our brains calculating. Our meal already took roughly an hour to arrive, how long would the second take? And would it be any better? We nicely ask that the plates be taken away, as we refuse the chef’s offer.
(Now, we all know what would happen elsewhere here (a.k.a. America). The waitress would be extremely apologetic, take the meals off the bill and possibly offer us dessert. I mean, it wasn’t like we just didn’t like our dishes, they were not cooked correctly!)
Alas, we are in France. The bill arrives and the beers are free, but the food isn’t. Really? Quite the opposite of what I had thought. The bf goes in to discuss this with the chef/owner. She insisted we must pay since we ate at least half of our meals. (Other than two bites out of mine and an inspection with a fork for his, we did not touch the plates!) The bf calmly offers to show her exactly what was wrong with our meals, but to no avail. He paid, begrudgingly, 20 euro, and as he left, the chef shouted: “Don’t ever show your face in this restaurant again!!”
Oh, Madame, you don’t have to worry about that.