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English Restaurant


alece

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Hi all,

I am moving to the Charente Maritime region ealry next year and have decided that the only option for finding work is to be self employed, so I have decided to fall back on my catering experience and am thinking about opening a English Restaurant.

The restaurant will serve traditional English fayre, Fish and chips, beef wellington and sorry to say roast beef and yokshire puddings and maybe even full English breakfasts. However the bulk of the menu will be Traditional and home cooked.

I was wandering if anyone new of any English restaurants already or if you have any comments please feel free to leave them here.

Many thanks

Alec

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Interesting niche. Not sure you can fill your pockets with it though.

In any case most local restaurants would purport to be doing traditional and home cooked would they not?

I have heard of an English Chippie doing well in Prades (66). Something like that may have a more clear-cut niche (and less outlay !).

An view of  Anglophile forums  suggests that there is indeed demand for a traditional English Restaurant. Indian or perhaps Thai.

Good Luck

 

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I have known of two over the years neither remained open for long.

 

Based on the fact that french people will happily sit at a dinner table with me and tell me rather forcefully that english cooking and food is la merde, and the general feeling in France is that this is a fact, I have no idea as to how you would do.

I must add that my friends spring to my defence but I am not sure if that is always believed or that I am perhaps considered but an exception.

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I think you are right TU. There are several round here, though we've never been to any of them. Not for any snobbish reason, just one of those things we mean to do but have never got round to it, all being far enough away to actually be a bit of an effort to make the journey so we need to know it's going to be worth it. I think, from the sort of publicity they put out on forums like Anglo Info and from their roadside advertising, that they all cater entirely for the British market and make few if any concessions to French tastes or cuisine (but I suppose you can't blame them, there isn't exactly any shortage of French restaurants in France). When there are communes with reportedly 60% British populations, as in one case in Normandy, I suppose they can see a market.

I return to England often enough to get regular fish and chips, curries etc, and very nice they are too, so don't really feel a need to seek them out in France. There is a fish and chip van that does the rounds here, as Dick Smith often tells us, but we've never got round to trying that either.

The nearest we actually got to an English restaurant here was one which came recommended, run by a couple (French husband/chef, English wife). We spoke French when entering and ordering, and the lady spoke very good French in return, and it was only when we noticed, towards the end of the meal, that she was speaking perfect English to the other customers that we caught on that she was the owner. The cooking (or at least the menu we chose) was typical rural French though, as you might expect, so you couldn't really class it as an English restaurant.

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We used to have a Fish and chip stall down in 34.Talking to the owner shortly before it closed,he said he had to have a French "sleeping partner" to be able to get the licenses.He said the trade was not that good even in a tourist area.
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Will! Are you suggesting that I'm obsessed by the fish and chip van? Hmmm - could be...

There is an English pub and bar in Sourdeval, which I went into once for a beer. It was a Saturday evening and it was fairly full and very friendly, but as I was on my way to Le Moulin de la Sée a portion of surf'n turf or a pie wasn't too tempting. I'm not knocking it, but I don't think I need English food often enough in France to bother.

(By the way, I've had fish and chips from the van twice in 5 years!)
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I'm not talking surf and turf as this is exactly the kind of food that has given British cuisine a bad name, what I am talking about is more traditional, back to basics if you please. The kind of cooking that Grans and Great Gran's used to cook. What I'm talking about is the Mrs Beaton school of cookery complemented by a touch of traditional two fat ladies kind of meals. Modern English food I find bland and rather boreing but when you consider the likes of jugged hare and wild boar with sage along with the roast beef and yorkshire puds and also traditional festive lunch at christmas and maybe even to go abit north of the border haggis.
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And it will include vegetarian meals as beliec it or not we have quite a few traditonal vegetarian meals too. I would also be open to suggestions too if there are any meals someone is missing that they would like to have cooked, even trip and onions if the need arose.
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Unless there are lots of British customers in your area I honestly don't think you stand a chance (and even then, I wonder whether they how often they will want to eat that kind of food).   As others have said, English food has a very bad reputation in France - deservedly or not, that's how it is.  The chances of French people stepping through the door are very slim indeed.   Where we live, even Italian restaurants have a struggle to keep going.........
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I think that was what was in my mind - people were choosing to go for the pies and stuff, so there may not have been a market for better English stuff amongst the English. Given that the average French person has a pretty low opinion of English cuisine you might be facing an uphill struggle with the locals. Could you undertake some market research? Perhaps a stall at a couple of local markets asking for opinions?
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Tu that is a very good question. My answer, there isn't !

The last time I flew BA they offered something like 5 or 7 variants on veggie. I ordered 4 and 3 of them were delicious.

What one might well miss in France (paricularly if strict veggie and not eating fish) is a balance of texture/flavour/nutrients/other interest. Nobody said veggie = bland.

Personally I find CousCous tedious but an occasional veg wellington (with tasty sauce) is a nice dish.

As a fish eater I can eat OK in France but my kids would welcome a wider repertoire I am sure. Pubs/restaurants in Britain have adapted to even do home made fish cakes, vegeburgers, quorn dishes etc. France is a bit behind in that respect.

But , back to the curry....

 

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Having a partner who eats very little meat due to not liking the texture I am quite used to cooking and adapting some of my favourite meals using vegetables, tofu, soya and quorn. Its just a matter of altering the ingredients from meat based ones etc to vegetarian ones. Any recipe can be altered to become vegetarian without loosing flavour. An example is spinach and bean shepherds pie, vegetarian winter casserole with chestnuts and even vegetarian haggis. I spend a lot of time browsing recipe books and websites and genrally just using my family as guinea pigs on anything that seems like a good idea.

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An interesting subject. We live near Prades ( moved out from the UK about 7 weeks ago now). We have been there a few times but haven't seen an English Chippy there. Does it still exist I wonder? I think an English/British resteraunt might be successful, certainly around here at this time of year there are not many resteraunts that remain open, and there are some where the food is appalling and French. That said there are also some very good ones. I don't think we would particularly want to visit a British resteraunt on a regular basis over here.That said I do believe that eating out in the UK is now generally better than eating out over here. A sweeping statement and one that will no doubt bring down a lot of wrath upon my head, but we used to live in Witney near Oxford and there were a fairly large number of both pubs and resteraunts where you could guarantee a very good meal( no not in Oxford itself) there is not the same strength n depth here. Thats doesn't mean I should be in the UK, we moved here for a lt more than the food.

Arthur

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lynarth, I have never heard mention of an English Chippy in Prades either, not that I would probably frequent it, I always think that the smell is better than the taste (even with the real mc coy) will ask the eldest if she will ask around in college (quite a few English kids attend who live in that area) not promising anything though, as one is from Liverpool and supports the team and she is a ManU fan . There are some very good restos in Thuir that are open year round....try the Hotel/resto in the centre....find the fountain  near the church and look for the presse, there is a side street  et voila. If you need bettr directions  PM me.

Mrs O

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I have not visited the supposed chippe in Prades. I got the info from an expat living in Vernet. I am over there again soon so I will quiiz him on it.

I  do understand the previous poster who said that France is not an overwhelmingly better place to eat out than Britain. Generally cheaper (like for like) but not always better. Locally (in France) I quite like the Pommier in Vernet (when its open) and the Chalet Gourmande. Some of our renters recommend the Cortal but not being a meat eater there isn't much point for me.

John

 

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hi there, I totally think the opposite way we live in the lImousin, and talking ti the brits here they are desperate for a chippy or an english resterant and as for them not doing well, the chippy in Vienne which we travel 1/1/2 hrs to get to is so busy and the eresterant nearby that serves brit food has to be booked up well in advance and the scot resturant in Ruffec is doing really well

I will get blasted here but I find the standard of french food in a typical small resturant that does three courses for a tenner set menu totally appauling and to get decent food you have to pay over 20 euros, whereas the brit resturants are serving good food for6/8 euros, we have run our b andb for a good while and always encourage people to eat out to see the divercity and differance in the culture and food but most guests come back disapointed unless they have paid 40 euros a head in a decent resterant, I would love to have a brit resterant near here for cheap and holesome food as we cook alot for the guests and like to go out on our days off and do travel to various places sammpling but im yet to find a nice but not too dear resturant, however we have found some nice meduim price ones

The chinese in Montmorrillon is excellent 8/10

Ferme de logis Magnac Laval very dear but 8/10

Henry 1V in Bessines very dear but if you go in the afternoon its good 7/10

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There are now many British people living both full and part time in the Charente-Maritime but I am not sure how well an English restaurant would do and would be worried about possible lack of trade during the winter months.

There's an English shop in Saintes selling mostly food I believe and a newish, English epicerie in Gemozac .

Near La Rochelle there is a British owned cookery school where they specialise in vegetarian cooking.

I have heard of an English  couple making curries and delivering them to order, I have not tried this service but some I know have and seem to be pleased. I read an article about someone Indian / English near St Jean d'Angely making a living this way.

Good luck with your new venture, research and location are the words that come to mind.

Gill

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[quote]hi there, I totally think the opposite way we live in the lImousin, and talking ti the brits here they are desperate for a chippy or an english resterant and as for them not doing well, the chippy in ...[/quote]

I will get blasted here but I find the standard of french food in a typical small resturant that does three courses for a tenner set menu totally appauling and to get decent food you have to pay over 20 euros,

I agree that some of the food in French restaurants and not only the cheap ones, can be very mediocre. Happily, there are still some where a 10 to 12 euro meal can be excellent value.

whereas the brit resturants are serving good food for6/8 euros

BUT how much profit can they be making?

Gill

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Interesting the debate this has generated. Perhaps I should have moved to the Limousin? Seriously I agree that many french resteraunts serving 3 courses for 10-12 euros are very poor, but someone must patronise them or how could they stay open? I do think it is a particular problem here in 66 as when we had a house in the Aude near Chalabre there were 4 or 5 resteraunts within reasonable driving distance that were excellent and not all that expensive. It's certainly not a lack of good ingredients as the shops are full of high quality food that only specialist shops or Waitrose or Marks and Spencers had back home and that was at a price.

Arthur

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Hmmm....although British food DOES have a lousy reputation in France, Jamie Oliver and his cooking (which I suppose I would regard as being as typically Britsh these days) is very highly regarded in France.

I think that if this idea were to succeed you would need to be in or near a major population centre (La Rochelle???), and also that you would probably (in the first instance, at least) need to smuggle food on to the menu heavily disguised in French.

There are plenty of restaurants in France that can be described as mediocre, and certainly in the more cosmopoliton towns (amongst which I would count La Rochelle) there is an interest in a bit of diversity, so with a fair wind you never know. I would not count on the resident or visiting British though - I reckon that you have to aim at the French.
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Hello

I would really like to have a traditional british meal ie steak and kidney pud ect. Funny though we moved from Spain to Lancashire in 88 (only stayed long enough to get rid of 2 businesses) anyway some German friends were coming to see us so I thought it would be nice to take them for a nice Lancashire meal. Not knowing the area I called the tourist office and asked the girl where I would find a traditional resto. Err up't road in Rossendale t'Taj Mahal. I was for once pretty speachless.

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Hello

I would really like to have a traditional british meal ie steak and kidney pud ect. Funny though we moved from Spain to Lancashire in 88 (only stayed long enough to get rid of 2 businesses) anyway some German friends were coming to see us so I thought it would be nice to take them for a nice Lancashire meal. Not knowing the area I called the tourist office and asked the girl where I would find a traditional resto. Err up't road in Rossendale t'Taj Mahal. I was for once pretty speechless.

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Hello

I would really like to have a traditional british meal ie steak and kidney pud ect. Funny though we moved from Spain to Lancashire in 88 (only stayed long enough to get rid of 2 businesses) anyway some German friends were coming to see us so I thought it would be nice to take them for a nice Lancashire meal. Not knowing the area I called the tourist office and asked the girl where I would find a traditional resto. Err up't road in Rossendale t'Taj Mahal. I was for once pretty speechless.

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