Thank Friday it’s Lunchtime – Restaurant Riviera at Nice Airport

It’s Friday and we’re travelling, so no chance of Thank Friday it’s Lunchtime, I thought.  Until we arrived at Nice airport with time to spare and decided to have lunch at the airport.
The first thing to watch out for at Nice Airport is that there is no restaurant once you’ve gone through the security checks for departures.  If you’re hungry, you have to balance your need for food with the number of people queueing at the security gate.  There is a sandwich bar on the other side, but no place where you can sit down for a hot meal.
We had plenty of time – more than two hours – our bags were dropped off and our boarding cards were in our back pockets, so we had no problem taking time out for lunch.
To be fair, an airport restaurant is a completely different experience to any of the little restaurants and brasseries we have visited to date.  We didn’t expect it to do very well, and unfortunately we were right.
The waitress was very pleasant and showed us to a nice table at the edge of the mezzanine, overlooking the busy hall down below.  She took our orders pretty quickly and it probably wasn’t her fault that the food was a little slow to appear.  We sat and sipped a glass of Rosé each while we waited, and eventually the starters arrived.
For starters, the LSH had Velouté de Potiron (Pumpkin soup) and I had a plate of charcuterie (cold meats).  The soup was a dainty, lady-like portion, and the charcuterie and accompanying salad and bread would easily have fed both of us.  Both were absolutely fine, no complaints there.

Charcuterie – sorry I forgot to take photos until half-way through the starters
Pumpkin soup.  It started life with some croutons floating in it

Lesson learned – next time, just order a plate of charcuterie between us.
For our mains, we both order Brochette de Poulet (Chicken skewers).  The LSH was craving carbohydrates, or SPUDS to be precise, so he asked for gratin potatoes as well as chips, whereas I restrained myself and asked for chips and haricot beans. 

The brochette with chips, gratin potatoes and the bowl of weird stuff
The brochette mostly hidden by chips and soggy haricots
The brochette, when it came, was served with a small salad and a bowl of something weird on the side – maybe it was meant to be a beurre blanc sauce, but it tasted like melted butter mixed with lemon juice, with a few drops of vinegar for that certain “Je ne sais quois!”  Indeed, I don’t know what it was, it was very, very strange.  The chicken was delicious and the salad was fine, but that was where the good stuff ended!  The gratin potatoes were cold, the haricot beans were so overcooked that they were just mush and the chips were nothing special, shaken out of a bag into the deep fat fryer, and a little on the cold side when served.
We skipped dessert and went straight to tea (LSH) and coffee (me).  I don’t like ordering tea when I’m abroad, it’s never as good as we’d make at home, but that’s just me.  The coffee was good – I think the French are genetically incapable of making bad coffee!
The total cost? A wallet-bruising €30 per head.  That’s the same as our very posh and very tasty meal at Chez Eric two months ago, and it was nowhere near the same category in quality.  My recommendation is to bring sandwiches.
Food – 
Service – ✮✮
Ambiance – 
Value – 

Finally, a word about the weather.  We have a lot of travelling ahead of us in the next few days.  I am a worrier.  I was worried that the roads over the Luberon would be icy.  I was worried that Dublin airport might be closed with snow/ice/gale force winds.  I was worried (and still am) that Chicago airport might be snowbound on Sunday and we might miss our connection to San Francisco.  The last thing I expected was this – torrential rain at Nice! I have never seen Nice looking so cold and so wet!

Rain at Nice, with a fire engine on standby while our plane was refuelling


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