Les Délices de l'île Maurice

Merci Monsieur Sylvestre!

Just came back from a very satisfying meal at Les Délices de l'île Maurice, a restaurant which serves food from Mauritius, a former British and French colony on a tiny island near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. In order to discourage myself from going, I kept on reading these reviews saying that despite the superb atmosphere you would find, the food and service would disappoint you. But neither was the case. I tend to think that people who've heard about it thought it would of that brand of fancy expensive ethnic restaurant (in that case, they should go to Le Piton de la Fournaise instead :P).

After sitting down for five minutes, the waited brought in a plate of fried mystery vegetable, which was probably a mix of onions, potatoes and eggplant. The totally interesting part was that the restaurant doesn't have a written menu, anywhere! And the waiter or chef himself would just come to your table to tell you the menu! So, either it's a peculiarity of the house, or the chef improvises what's on the menu every night, or both! For entree, more fried stuff, just chicken. There were various herbal marinades (I'm guessing that one's diluted relish) on the table to dip your fried stuff. Came also, a tomato-based potage with coriander, and what S recognized as cracked corn.

The main dish was perhaps more remarkable. She had a saffron shrimp (heaps of them, yellowed by the saffron's teint, and perhaps a bit of turmeric too), and I had what looked like pot-cooked quails. I first heard "civet" (de cailles), and was, like, zomg, cats! But nevermind, quails are as good, especially simmered in what looked closely to a Chinese way of serving it, in a dark soya-looking sauce base, with peppercorns, cloves, and sprouted beans. White rice and salad on the side.

One of the reviews I read singled out the white rice as a reason to damn the chef, as if, savory rice would make sense with such savor-rich sauces each dish contain (always a combination of meat du jour - clams, shrimp, mussels, beef, chicken, lamb, etc, and a flavour, like curry, saffron, etc.).

Skipped the dessert (not sure if any was offered by the house), and paid only a ridiculous $13 per person, taxes/tips included, for a full-course meal. Did I mention it was a BYOW?

Bonus stage: as we left the restaurant, the chef picks a chat with us at the door, and invites us back in for a coffee. However, his coffee was 0% coffee, and 100% plum-flavoured rum. XD

272, Avenue Hickson, Verdun (metro De L'Église). The walk back to the metro on Wellington makes the infrequent Verdun visitor wonder if he was warped to a whole different city. Old 1950s-looking shop vitrines and sidewalk widths are probably in cause.

For some weird reason, I always seem to have assumed, from reviews read, that this peculiar Monsieur Sylvestre was African/Creole, but in fact [totally looks / is] ethnic Chinese. We could've stayed longer, but it was already three hours in the restaurant, not really in a hurry for the chef to come and ask for what next we'd be up for - fried stuff is a filler, and excuse to not visit your guests' tables so often. *g* That was ok, and we're not going to judge a restaurant's qualities for the servility of its ... service. At least not tonight. XD I was eager to create chatter with the chef, but he was too busy trying not to sell his under-the-market-price quails to the nearby table.

Most memorable quails we had were not quails, but pigeons, in Luxor, Egypt. On the street along the Nile, near the hotel (Sofitel? Novotel?), there was this restaurant with a bird case on the roof top. Were we the gullible tourists (they even proposed that we went to see it), or were these really live pigeons? In any case, our commerce-driven family promptly suggested that they advertise quickly to HK tours, 'cuz Chinese people are apparently really into pigeons. To which the boss of the establishment said more or less orlykthxbai.


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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on September 30, 2006 1:25 AM.

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