John Sutton takes Bistro Noir on Lark Lane by the horns – and finds plenty to savour
ONE of the things to really admire about the French is they’ll eat practically anything.
Frogs legs. Snails. Horse. They wolf it down in between couture fittings, seeing the mistress and smoking Gauloises while musing on Sartre.
Meanwhile on this side of the Channel there is actually a market for things like skinless sausages, jam with “no bits” and chicken breast mini fillets, whatever they are.
This affects what restaurateurs put on their menus. They’re in business to make money, and know your average British diner is about as adventurous as Asterix with an anxiety disorder.
So you always get steak, chicken in some form, fish (usually battered, usually cod) and – for the brave – stuff like black pudding and scallops or a duck breast served pink.
And then you tip up at Bistro Noir on Lark Lane and they offer up curried goat.
Fantastic. I ordered it out of sheer novelty. It’s popular, the waitress said, as she set down the spicy casserole and rice. On top of it were plaintains.
They’re a big banana, which I’d tried once before but never seen on a menu. As for goat, outside of specialist Caribbean or African restaurants I doubt it would even get near a professional kitchen.
The curry was spicy and tasty, the flavours reached out and spread themselves round the tastebuds rather than being just spoonfuls of hot gloopy sauce over meat. It was slow-cooked, making the goat tender.
Really, it was like mutton, but I know mentioning that unfashionable version of sheep will put people off. So it was like older lamb.
I was already in a good mood when Miss and I sat down and it announced three courses for £14.95 on the top of the menu. There were eleven choices for mains, plus a specials board. And come Sunday, Monday or Tuesday it’s £9.99, cheaper than a dine-in for two from one of the country’s premium retailers.