I look forward to Sunday mornings, because there's no dashing out the house to open up French Living, no rushing to make sure Carole, our crazy cleaner, is not waiting on the doorstep. Because no one wants to upset Carole!
Sundays fill me with giggly anticipation as I wait for Stef to stagger downstairs, dishevelled and croaky after the long Saturday shift. It is virtually guaranteed that I will be treated to a delicious anecdote or two from the previous days service. This morning was no exception. Stef has never been brilliant with celebrations, particularly the commercially created events that scatter our calendars designed to generate income, induce guilt-inspired purchase and generally promote a herd-like mass behaviour conformity. On this day you will love your mother, father, grand-mother, grand-father, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend....
I should maybe have taken more notice of his lack of interest in these "special" days, particularly the time at the start of our marriage when Valentines still felt like the most important validation of love.
He tried taking me out for dinner on the 14th of February without having booked a table. Not surprisingly everywhere was full and we were forced to accept defeat after begging at the entrance of a multitude of restaurants. We retreated home to a plate of ham and mash. I remember it well. He tried to convince me that he didn't realise it was such a big deal in the UK because in France, apparently it's not! You can always eat at a restaurant on the 14th February without booking. I've never tested this claim so I still don't know if this is just a Stef aversion to inauthentic creations.
Today, as a restaurant owner in the UK, Stef has mellowed and gives a little nod to some of these events, but as you all probably know French Living does not conform to restaurant business norms. It has has never followed the crowd. It remains quirky and a tad eccentric.
"Remember. Don't call your Mum tomorrow to wish her Happy Mother's Day." Stef pronounces to a party of French diners who are settling their bill, about to leave.
"It's not Mothers Day in France tomorrow," he continues, "it's in June. My Mum gets really upset when I get this wrong!" he declares with a self-satisfied grin for sharing this precious family advice.
Audrius, our ever faithful and loyal manager, waits for the group to leave before turning to Stef ,
"Its not Mothers Day tomorrow Stef" he whispers, "it's next week."
When it comes to the seasonal changes in our menus, there is never ever a mix-up or confusion. Seasons are seasons and the availability of fresh ingredients follow Natures path and French Living follows accordingly. Our new Spring menu is ready to go, and will push away the Winter warmers on the 24th March.
So keep your eyes peeled on our website for more details or even better, call in and enjoy the flavours of Spring. Just remember we are closed on Sundays and Mondays!!