Before writing about the restaurants in Cannes that we really like, I wanted to get the negative reviews out of the way.

Last week, I featured Mantel and L’Antidote.

Restaurant restaurant catherine - 1 - The final restaurant in this trio is Restaurant Catherine, which used to be Modo Mio. It is located at 43 bis rue Félix Faure, in the midst of the classic seafood restaurants.

(Photo credit: Justacoté)

We do not recall Modo Mio from our past trips yet it was there.

Furthermore, the new incarnation — Restaurant Catherine — uses the old, branded Modo Mio menus, which we found rather confusing. They must have cost a lot of money. We’d never seen menus which are stiff, thick laminate pages bound together into a book.

The food

We ate there in June 2015, attracted by the local fish for two at €22. Catherine told us it was not available, so one of us had sea bream and the other loup — local sea bass from the Mediterranean.

Before that, we started with pan fried foie gras. The portions were too large — three slices of lobe instead of two. Normally, foie gras prepared in this manner comes with a few slices of fruit — e.g. figs — sautéed in the same pan, which is a perfect marriage of flavour and texture. Instead, Catherine’s came with a salad and slice of fig and raisin bread — hardly the same. Whilst the foie gras was perfectly done, the accompaniments did not lift the dish.

The fish was a Hollywood production. Catherine came with two platters of grilled fish which she painstakingly filleted in front of us. This took an age. Meanwhile, she couldn’t stop talking to us. I asked for the skin and tail, which she thought was an outrageous request. This resulted in more monologue: ‘No one eats that’. So, SpouseMouse requested the same!

Then, she explained how she was filleting the fish. I’d had about enough by that point — five minutes in on the first fish with longer to go — and said that I understood what she was doing, as I fillet my own fish at home. She looked at me in amazement.

Unfortunately, her amazement didn’t stop her from talking. We then got an explanation of the difference between loup — from the Mediterranean — and bar, which comes from the Atlantic. We knew that already, too, from one of our first trips.

The fish was excellent, but one would have comfortably served both of us. The tails were wonderfully crispy, too. On the down side, the fish had quite a few bones. The accompanying vegetables were sautéed with oriental spices — interesting. However, the spices added nothing to the dish.

By the time we’d finished the fish, I could eat no more. SpouseMouse ordered a mousseux au chocolat, which was a heavenly chocolate fondant on a beautifully decorated plate. Catherine’s pastry chef, a young woman, brought it to the table.

We drank Château Minuty Préstige (rosé).

Dinner cost €133 for two, which was rather pricey. If I remember rightly, we ordered à la carte as the prix fixe menu was unimpressive.

‘My way!’

‘Modo mio’ means ‘my way’. That certainly sums Catherine up perfectly.

She knows everything. Everyone else needs educating.

A Frenchwoman at another table asked her about a particular dish and politely questioned Catherine’s preparation. Catherine retorted, ‘But, madame, that’s the recipe! That’s how it’s done!’

Catherine reminds me of owners in trouble who feature on Restaurant Impossible or Kitchen Nightmares. I can’t see how this business will be viable. When we walked past before and after our dinner, only one diner was there, except for one evening when there were three.

At one point, Catherine came up and told us she received the maximum rating from Trip Advisor. She walked away and returned with a laminated page that Trip Advisor sent her with the ‘excellent’ rating. We suggested that she put it in her window as marketing, which is sorely needed. She never did. Instead, she keeps it in back at the till, which no one sees unless they are walking past on their way to the loo.

Speaking of loos, she must have spent a lot of money on them, because they are totally unlike any others on that street. They are ultra-modern and beautifully appointed. Still, how much does one need to spend on a restaurant loo?

I wrote our impressions and suggestions in my food diary:

– Madame talks too much.

– Portions, whilst well prepared, are way too large. That made me wonder about her profit margins.

– The menu reflects an interesting concept — a twist on the traditional Franco-Italian — and, as such, the restaurant might do better in a less expensive location on a side street.

– Catherine needs to clarify the restaurant’s identity, but those Modo Mio menus are too expensive to throw out now.

I wish her the very best, but her manner is somewhat unfortunate. We won’t be going back.

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