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September 2009 - Kanimambo

Home & Away Dining Society Reviews

September 2009 - Kanimambo

Posted by: webmaster on Thursday October 01, 2009 (15:32:27)   (3240 Reads)
Happy Diners
Happy Diners
Restaurant Details


Address13 Rue Edmond Leveillé
Address60270 Gouvieux
The first outing after the rentrée for Home & Away saw 26 happy diners descend on a newly opened Franco-Portuguese restaurant, the Kanimambo, in Gouvieux. Keen to attract new customers the owner, Hélène, had offered a selection of Portuguese dishes along with Portuguese wine for our normal €40 per head. Armed with a Portuguese dictionary we descended on the restaurant.

The restaurant itself is pretty immaculate as you can imagine after a refit, although perhaps lacking in character. The front is set out as a bar with the restaurant behind and a small terrace out the back for dining al fresco (and for the smokers!). Initially Hélène had thought she’d be able to simply screen off a part of the restaurant for us – she soon found out that 26 expats could be pretty loud! Other diners were cleared from the area and we had pretty much the whole of the back of the place to ourselves.

We had all pre-ordered to give the kitchen a chance to serve everyone and food arrived pretty quickly once we’d had an ‘apéro offerte’. Seafood featured strongly on the menu and it proved the most popular choice. The ‘Beignets de Crevettes’ and of Morue were popular and arrived with about 5 per person. The prawns went down very well although the cod was perhaps a little dry. Salads were a very good portion size of salmon or goat’s cheese.

The main courses arrived swiftly after starters (with one missing!) and funnily enough nobody had gone for the ‘poulpe’! As that translated as squid then I wasn’t overly surprised. The most popular dish was ‘Morue com Natas’, or fish pie. This arrived, piping hot, in an individual square dish with a side salad. My only complaint was that it was too hot – having acquired something of a nuclear half-life via the oven. The more adventurous amongst us ordered the ‘Carne Alentijana’ which consisted of a casseroled pork with sautéed potatoes and ‘coques’ which are cockles I guess. The plate was piled pretty high and it was a pretty tasty dish – perhaps a little dry and salty but that pretty much sums up Portuguese food’s reputation! The Morue Kanimambo was a large chunk of cod served with vegetables which again whilst being a good portion size was way too salty. The ‘Brandade de Morue’ seemed to go down pretty well.
Our menu had included half a bottle of wine per person along with water and I didn’t see anyone go short. The wine itself was a red from Alentijana which, despite the French amongst us turning their noses up at having to drink something that wasn’t French, went down very well. I certainly would have been happy to have it at home and it is always nice to try something new. Portuguese wine tends to be pretty uncommon in France and has earned a bad reputation in the UK so I for one was happy to have the opportunity to have some.

Desserts included a couple of Portuguese dishes too – Natas which arrived like small home-made custard tarts which tasted good and Pudim which was a crème caramel type affair, only about 100 times sweeter! The less brave amongst us opted for ice cream or fruit salad! Coffees came promptly once everyone had finished.

So, conclusions? Firstly the food is probably not going to set the world on fire and have people coming from miles around. It is nice to try something different but if you’re not a bit Portuguese food fan then after trying it once or twice you wouldn’t feel the need to try it a third time. That said, if on a cold winter’s day you fancied some comfort food to warm you from the inside then the fish pie would be very acceptable! The wine was not expensive and very palatable. It would certainly make me want to try some more Portuguese wines in the future.

The staff at the restaurant, including Hélène who didn’t stop all night, were faultless. All the food arrived at the same time (with one exception!) and was piping hot. As soon as a water or wine bottle was empty it was replaced and nothing was too much trouble from the moment I started organizing the evening.
The restaurant itself is pretty characterless and could do with some softer lighting and some decoration – these may well come in time bearing in mind they’ve only just opened.

So would I go again? The majority view from the evening was that it was probably a restaurant that would be better visited for something different for lunch rather than dinner. Whilst the service was excellent and the value reasonable you’d really need to be a fan of Portuguese food to want to go back again and again.

With many thanks once again to all those who came along, especially those who haven’t been before – hopefully we’ll see you all again next month!

Food: 5/10
Ambiance: 5/10
Overall: 6/10 (for the great service!)

PS If anyone knows of a good restaurant either around Chantilly or further afield that they think would welcome a bunch of noisy expats and food aficionados please let me know so that we can arrange a visit.
PPS Watch this space for details of our Christmas dinner!
Happy Diners
Happy Diners II
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