Restaurant review: Cote d’Azur


By - Friday 20th May, 2016

French cuisine meets the island of Mauritius in South Croydon. Joy Akwue-Butler paid a visit


18 Selsdon Road, SouthCroydon, CR2 6PA

Time from East Croydon:  25 minutes / 5 minutes 119, 466 or 312


 

Cote d'Azur restaurant

Photo author’s own.

Cote d’Azur is a French restaurant with a Mauritian influence. I hadn’t heard of it before, so when my friend Michelle suggested meeting there for a meal and a catch-up, I was quite excited about going somewhere new. Our booking was made for 8:00pm on a rather wintry Friday and I realised when I arrived at the premises that I had been there previously, many years before. Back then it was the French restaurant Le Cassoulet, which closed its doors in 2012.

Michelle and I were warmly welcomed and asked if we’d booked a table; it was just as well that we had as the restaurant was almost full. While Michelle sat down, I went to visit the ladies. There are two toilets, which were clean and reasonably sized, but I found the area to wash your hands in was quite restricted. Luckily I was on my own, otherwise it would have been a bit of a squeeze.

I joined Michelle back at our table and we were given the menu. We ordered some drinks first, Michelle had a glass of Archers and lemonade (£3.00) and I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (£4.50), plus a glass of tap water.

There was a wide variety of food to choose from and if you like fish you’ll love it there as there is a number of fish dishes on the menu. After some deliberating we finally made our choices. Michelle ordered the crab soup made from traditional Mauritian crab in the shell (£4.50). I chose the crab samosa filled with crab meat, sour cream and tomato salsa (£4.50).

Crab samosa.
Photo author’s own.

Both dishes arrived well presented and Michelle was given the necessary utensils to crack open and remove the crab meat from its shell. She liked the fact that she’d been given a whole crab, but extracting the meat proved a little trying, with one piece of shell ending up on the table next to us! Michelle said that the crab was tender and the spicy soup had just the right amount of kick to it. I enjoyed my crab samosa, which had a delicate flavour and was served with some salad, plus it was easy to eat compared to Michelle’s dish!

We were enjoying catching up on each other’s news, as it had been a while since we’d seen each other. Looking around the restaurant it was apparent that their guests are made up of mainly couples and groups of friends.

After a little while our main course arrived. We had both ordered the red snapper from Mauritius, fish from the deep clean Mauritian sea, creole sauce, paprika potato and rice (£12.95). Again, the dish arrived well presented and not only looked good but smelled good too. Michelle enjoyed her meal and thought that it was very tasty. I had not tried this fish before (as I’m not a big fish eater), but I liked the firm texture and flavour. The fish was served with a delicious spicy sauce, fluffy rice, okra and potato, which all went really well together. The only minor criticism we had was that the potato was slightly overcooked.

Red snapper from Mauritius island

Red snapper from Mauritius island.
Photo author’s own.

Afterwards the chef’s wife and restaurant owner, Farida, came over to greet us. She told us that they had been open for three years but prior to that they owned another restaurant, Paradise Island in South Croydon, which had been a fish restaurant. This explains why there were so many fish dishes on their current menu! Farida’s husband had previously worked as a chef for Malcolm John, who owned Le Cassoulet, so when they heard that the premises had once more become available they decided to close Paradise Island and move to their present location.

Michelle and I were both feeling quite full, but thought that we’d have a quick look at the dessert menu to see what was on it. It didn’t take the waitress very long to convince us to try something and soon we were asking for her recommendations. Michelle finally decided on the chocolate brownie (£4.50) and I chose the apple cinnamon cake (£4.50). Michelle enjoyed her dessert, but thought that the portion size should have been bigger. Mine however was beautifully presented, with just the right amount. The apple cinnamon cake was served warm with custard and ice cream and tasted absolutely delicious. I felt that I’d saved the best till last. It made a refreshing change to have an apple dessert rather than the usual array of chocolate desserts often found on menus.

Apple cinnamon cake.
Photo author’s own.

The staff were attentive and friendly throughout the evening and we both agreed that we’d had a first class meal in a lovely restaurant and had discovered another little gem amongst the already growing list of quality Croydon restaurants. We look forward to visiting again soon and would highly recommend it.

Joy Akwue-Butler

Joy Akwue-Butler

Joy Akwue-Butler works as the Operations Manager for IKM TeckChek Europe whose UK office is based in Croydon. She has lived and worked in the area for over 20 years. She currently lives in Caterham with her partner and has one daughter – Jasmine. Joy loves eating good food and enjoys socialising!

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  • Anne Giles

    Will have to try it. I am a great fish eater!