Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pedra Alta, challenging us to walk away without getting high on food

Portuguese cuisine? Does it exist? That was my initial reaction when my beautiful colleague asked me if I have tried it out. My colleague is Portuguese and the adjective I used to describe her is an understatement. Is the cuisine the secret behind the adjective? That was an answer worth pursuing. Someone said a long time said. All roads lead to Rome. In Paris, it is true with respect to Portuguese cuisine. In Paris, all roads in search of Portuguese cuisine leads to Pedra Alta especially if you don't have a Portuguese connection. If you have a Portuguese connection or even a Portuguese girlfriend, you might direct people to "that little restaurant near Hotel de Ville" featuring great Portuguese food. Unfortunately, I have to rely on Facebook pictures posted by friends and also my silent friend Google.

Back to Pedra Alta, you have a lot a surprises here. I am not talking about riding the metro to reach the edge of the city in Boulougne. That is not even a surprise. It is merely an inconvenience. The surprise is "No Reservations". Yes, they don't take reservations. You show up when the restaurant opens up. You get in or get a number. If you get a number, then you wait. You are told the waiting time. But what they don't tell you is the waiting time is approximate. I got in 15 minutes after the waiting time had expired.

What do you plan to do while waiting? There are two options. You can stand in front of the restaurant and stare at the traffic passing Marcel Sembat. It is a nice place but there are no beautiful creatures walking by to admire. Remember, it is not Paris no matter what people tell you. That takes us to the next option. Get into nearest bar to quench your thirst. On prima facie, it seems a good option but bad judgement. Why? You may ask. Please be with me for a few more minutes. The mystery will unravel itself.

After you get in, things go fast. But prepare yourself for this is not going to be a quiet dining experience. The decibel levels are high. Everyone seated are talking animatedly. The waiters are running around to take orders and carry really big plates to tables. The seafood platters are really huge. It is no wonder the waiters appear exasperated. You may be irritated at the waiter's behavior at first. Before the evening is over, the irritation is replaced with sympathy. It is difficult to work in such a restaurant with a long waiting queue, the seafood smell and incessant running around with heavy load. The last activity is in fact a good substitute for gym.

What I had!
One casual glance at the menu might make you think the prices are high. But a closer look reveals most of the dishes featured are for 2 people or more. When it finally arrives, you are overpowered by the aroma. You are happy seeing the quantity. It looks like a scrumptious meal. You are going to leave the table with your desires satisfied. The statement is partially correct. You are walking into a trap. Your desires will be satisfied as the meal progresses. But you will not be able to get up with all the food you ate. In fact, you will have eaten so much food that it makes you feel dizzy. Remember I told you not to drink too much while waiting. The food is going to do the same trick on you.

To cut a long story short, I finished the dinner. I was already looking for my bed even before the arrival of infamous l'addition! The last part of my journey, from the restaurant to my bed, was the longest. Before I hit the bed, I had only one question. It was about my beautiful colleague. How does she manage to stay slim after having Portuguese food? The question troubled me for only a few hours, most of which I was sleeping senselessly as an aftereffect of the dinner. The answer was a very simple one which I had overlooked. She avoids Portuguese cuisine. That explains her figure!

Tags: Restaurants,Portuguese


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11 comments:

  1. good to know your experience with Portuguese cuisine and dish .. :)

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  2. Portuguese cuisine looks nice in the pic.. :-)

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  3. thnx for sharing yummy cuisine
    http://hindustanisakhisaheli.blogspot.com/

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  4. oh man. you could have just posted that pic alone and I would have been sold on the food :D
    I spotted prawns and mussels. The red on the top right - is that a lobster ?

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  5. That's quite a spread; a lot of seafood. I'm curious -- what's the yellow thing? Fries?

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