Au mal assisAlthough my better half and I have been to Cannes on several occasions, we had never eaten in the restaurants along the Quai St Pierre which faces the Old Port.

We hadn’t really walked along much of Quai St Pierre until June 2015. Our earlier impressions from several years ago was that this might be a prime location for tourist traps.

So, this year, we thought we’d give it a go. Most of the restaurant menus did not appeal to us, either because of the selection on offer or the prices seemed a bit steep.

I selected Au Mal Assis which has been at 15 Quai St Pierre since it first opened its doors in 1914. My hope was that, as it is still family-owned, it would offer honest fare at a fair price. Neither of us wanted food poisoning, either, so this seemed a safe bet.

(Photo credit: Trip Advisor)

These days, the Old Port’s focus is tourism and slips for the many yachts that come in from various countries. However, a century ago, it bustled with Cannes’s commercial fishermen. Au Mal Assis’s menu comes complete with fascinating photos of the restaurant at that time, a very different scene altogether.

The menu does not explain how the restaurant got its name. ‘Mal assis’ means poorly seated or uncomfortable. Perhaps an old private joke or irony is involved.

SpouseMouse and I were greeted and seated promptly at an end table on the terrace, with yachts in full view — pleasant! The place was already filling up at 7:30 p.m. It seemed to be restaurant with the most customers along Quai St Pierre. Many had only a few. Some had none at all.

We opted for the prix fixe — formule — menu. Both of us started with half a dozen oysters each. These were fines de claire from the Oléron region along the west coast of France. They were sweet and succulent, with just the right amount of saltiness.

Although they came with some sort of condiment which I did not note, many French oyster lovers enjoy them just as they are, straight out of the shell. I can see why. I would advise against adding anything to such a delightful delicacy.

It’s great that Au Mal Assis stores the oysters in their crates in an ice cabinet in full view of patrons. I had a look and all were from the Oléron. Wait staff frequently came out to take boxes to the kitchen.

For a main course, SpouseMouse chose the loup — Mediterranean sea bass — in sauce vierge, which is comprised of olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomato and chopped basil. I opted for gambas — jumbo prawns, a local speciality — which came with plenty of garlic butter and a perfectly sized timbale of rice. They were unctuous and beautifully prepared!

For dessert, my better half had a competently done moelleux au chocolat — chocolate fondant — whilst I opted for a delicious assiette de fromage.

We drank — again! — Minuty Cuvée Préstige (rosé) : price considerations. I haven’t been stating the wine year in any of these reviews because normally what’s on offer at a reasonable price is rosé from the previous year. Hence, we drank 2014 wines throughout.

The bill came to €91.20 — not terribly cheap given the brasserie atmosphere, but we did not feel cheated.

The owner — a middle aged man — is frequently around. He greeted us and showed us to our table. He is also available if patrons have questions or are seeking recommendations.

Wait staff are cordial and unobtrusive in the classic French manner. After Restaurant Catherine this came as a relief. Despite it being busy, our courses arrived in a timely manner.

Tables are spaced fairly close together. Talking to the people next to you is a likely possibility. We conversed briefly with the Russian couple next to us. The man asked us for suggestions on what to do after dinner.

I look forward to returning to Au Mal Assis on our next visit! No doubt, they are enjoying another busy, successful summer season.

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