Saturday, August 14, 2010

Le Gigot à la Ficelle

One place we went to during our recent week off was Le Gigot à la Ficelle (Leg of Lamb on a String). We’d driven past this place on the Route Circulaire numerous times since returning to Burkina a couple of years ago, but didn’t think much about it until I saw a reference to it on the Internet. What I read about it (as well as its ranking of #2 out of 50 restaurants in Ouaga) convinced me that we had to try it out. And we were not disappointed! As a matter of fact, we’ve been there three times in the past two weeks, bringing a variety of friends subsequent to our initial trial visit.

There was hardly anyone there when we arrived several minutes after 7 o’clock in the evening. Probably because the place only opens at 7 p.m. In any case, there was lots of room for parking, something that was certainly not the case later on when we left. By that time, there were so many people and vehicles there that we had a hard time getting out. I made a note to myself to park with a better exit strategy in mind next time!

The entire restaurant is outdoors in a large open courtyard, which is accessed by walking through a decorative entranceway. Numerous eating areas are set up throughout the courtyard, some under the open sky and some under hangars where you can sit in case of rain (or because you’d like some light by which to read the menu :). The eating places under the hangars are also easier for the servers to access because they are on concrete pads instead of crushed stone and the servers move around the entire place on roller blades! No kidding!

At one end of the restaurant is a huge fireplace containing a blazing wood fire (I bet working there is really fun in the hot season!). In front of the fire, legs of lamb hang suspended on cords. A cook moves them around as necessary to achieve the proper degree of roasting and bastes them with their own juices, ladled from a long dripping pan underneath. Kathy & I are not fans of mutton, but since it was the house specialty, we felt we needed to at least try it. We ordered one to share. It arrived on a wooden platter along with a bowl of basting liquid, some mustard and some piment & pepper sauce. It was good, even without any of the condiments! The only thing we forgot to was to get a picture of one of us gnawing away on the thing. Of course, this would be for dramatic purposes only. We actually ate most of it using knives and forks. But we did take a picture of a friend doing this later on :)

Subsequently, we’ve also tried other food items, like lamb chops and fish kabobs. Kathy says the lamb chops are probably the best she’s ever eaten.

In the middle of the courtyard is a large concrete pad with a hangar over it. This is where the entertainment happens. Beginning around 8 p.m., there is live music featuring an electric piano, an electric guitar, and vocals. This is interspersed with a variety of different acts. So far we’ve seen jugglers, acrobats, and drummers. Very entertaining and a nice difference from the normal restaurant experience in Ouaga. So much so that we’re planning on going back again soon! Wanna come along?

No comments: