by AA Lil
You know how some words just won’t stick in your pea brain?
Just me then.
Well, I have that problem with chimichanga…..cinquecento …..chittychittybangbang…
Do you mean chiriguita?
That’s the one!
A chimchimcheree or whatever is a wooden, temporary structure, a shack. The term – also “xiringuito” in Spanish – (sorry, no chance) is used to describe bars, restaurants and cafés that are seasonal and mostly found on beaches.
Our favourite is Chez Biquet in Leucate Plage, of which I have spoken before. However, due to its immense success – no need to thank me – we couldn’t get a table for dinner.
So instead, undaunted in our pursuit of surfside sundowners, we tried Ginette.
This chimichurri is slap bang in the middle of the gentle bustle of Leucate Plage.
It was a Friday night and a duo of musicians were playing bluesy rock at a level that allowed conversation to flow. I love live music as much as the next chiquita, but often it’s just TOO LOUD. I very often feel like the bunny in the Banana Boat video that keeps running away from someone yelling “Dayo!”
I mean, turn it down, man.
Anyway, this music was very laid back and pleasant, setting the scene nicely for a sour, iced Caipirinha while gazing out at the ocean, the horizon infused with the pinkness of grenadine.
The whole atmosphere is relaxed and inclusive. There were clutches of bearded chappies, constellations of glowing girls, friends smoking and celebrating stuff, holiday families through all generations in clouds of fresh shower gel…….and us.
The décor is bleached wood, huge cushions, palettes made into sofas, unobtrusive lighting and a neon, chrome bar in the middle. On the beach is table football, boules and sun beds. Everything is geared towards having a jolly nice time.
Underlying the music was the sound of a cocktail shaker, ambient chatter and the clatter of cutlery as guests in flowing flowery dresses and intentionally creased linen shirts were tucking into their tapas.
We sucked on some deliciously creamy oysters while we read the menu. Being at the seaside and in fishy mode, we shared a plate of octopus and another of tuna.
There were two large legs of octopoid, tender and flavoured with squid ink and sauce vierge with tiny red peppers that popped in the mouth with a gurgle of spice. The tuna sashimi was garnished with kiwi guacamole and ponzu sauce. Both plates looked and tasted extremely good.
As the goldfish coloured sun sunk, so did our appetite for more seafood and, some meat was needed. You can’t get meatier than a big dollop – pardon – quenelle, of steak tartare served on a large Fred Flintstone chunk of bone marrow.
The steak was chopped finely and mixed with capers, tomato and spices just as it should be. The bone marrow, smooth, sweet and salty.
We ate it with chips and, according to him who has a “Masterly” opinion of such chuff, the one criticism was that they were soggy. But to me, being a huge cachaça and half a bottle of dry white down, a bowl of hot, greasy chips was manna from heaven.
By now a DJ had started to play some sultry soul and unaccountably another bottle of wine had snuck up on to our ozone washed perch. We could have sat there all night. Oh, we did.
We have had cheaper meals but you are on the sand, with the Mediterranean glinting and a gorgeous warm sea breeze tickling your tentacles. The service was friendly and efficient, the portions were generous and ample for sharing, each dish costing between €10 and €16. The local wine was around €25. We got good musicians and a DJ.
So I’d say – and I would if I was able to – that this chattanooga is well worth making footprints in the sand.
By AA Lil
37, Avenue de la Côte Rêvée – 11370 Leucate-Plage
Tel : 06 08 65 17 76
Open from 9am till 11pm