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"To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."

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A new personal record at La Plage Casadelmar

On holiday in Corsica I broke a new personal record, possibly even a world record, for:

a) Most money spent on a single bowl of pasta

b) Most stupid tourist ever

It all happened quite by accident.

The M&2V is a great holiday companion – he’s easy breezy, good at directions, up for pretty much any activity, likes a drink and, most importantly, knows that food is my thing and let’s me eat “wherever you want, honeybun”.

That’s what he said when I tentatively suggested La Plage Casadelmar in Porto Vecchio, Corsica. It was recommended in the Michelin Guide and the website screamed luxury. I knew it wouldn’t come cheap and I said so.

“Whatever you want, honeybun.”

“OK, then.”

Glowing smile.

I nearly cried with joy when they handed me a wine list with a choice of wines by the glass. Most of the places we had been to in Corsica only offered one white, one red or one rosé. I was yet to try a good one.

So far, so good. The food menus were expensive, but not prohibitively so; just what one might expect in a place like this.

For starters, we shared a main of fritto mixto (€36) – squid, prawns, whitebait and sage leaves lightly dusted in flour, fried until golden and served with a generous portion of lemon (always a gripe of mine, there’s never usually enough) and homemade tartare sauce.

For mains, the M&2V chose the catch of the day, which at €42 seemed a little steep, but when it turned out to include grilled sea bass, sea bream, octopus, squid and a king prawn, became positively reasonable.

The Corsican diet seems to be largely made up of grilled meat, cheese and charcuterie and variations on that theme, so having seen the sea on and off for four days, I had a hanger-inducing hankering for seafood pasta, as yet unsatisfied.

I jumped at the chance to eat ‘langoustine’ spaghetti – one of my faves. At €24 / 100g, it couldn’t possibly come to more than €60 or €70. Or could it?

The first clue should have been the timid waitress who shyly approached our table carrying what looked like a large live lobster wrapped in a napkin. I shook my head meaning “No, we didn’t order that.” Apparently in French that translates as “No, don’t bring that thing here, just cook it!” She shook her head in response and scuttled away as quietly as she’d come. I instantly forgot her.

When the dish arrived it was very generous and topped with the largest chunks of langoustine I’d ever seen, but my rosé addled brain didn’t do the maths.

With a mouthful of crustacean I said, “I don’t think this is langoustine, but it’s delicious.” And it was. Spaghetti, cooked precisely al dente, coated in a rich tomato sauce, sweet and slightly spicy with a hint of saffron and plenty of olive oil, piled high with tender chunks of… some sort of delightful crustacean. It certainly scratched my seafood pasta itch.

It was so generous, in fact, that I shared not one, but two meaty chunks with the M&2V, who conceded that it went very well with the spaghetti, having only moments before proclaimed “I don’t understand seafood pasta. To me they are two separate things. Why would you want them together.”

Glasses drained of wine and, more importantly, water, my senses returned to me.

“That was very generous and it definitely wasn’t langoustine, was it?”

“How much do you think it weighed?” asked the M&2V.

“300g?” I said, hopefully.

“I’ll give you the bet up to €100.”

Meaning, if it costs up to €100, you win. If it’s over, I do.

My suspicions were confirmed when I went to the bathroom and the waiter made a point of asking not “how was your meal, Madame?” but “How was your pasta?”

Despite all of this, I still nearly fell off my seat when I saw the bill. At 800g it blew all our guesses out of the ocean.

€192 for 1 bowl of pasta. It was good, but nothing is that good.

This picture courtesy of the M&2V

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Reader Comments (3)

I think you can be forgiven for your mistake. I looked up langoustine online ... it is translated as lots of things - prawn , dublin bay prawn, craw daddy , cray fish even "scampi" for gods sake.

August 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterma

This is the best!

August 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRay

Absolutely yummy. It’s such a great way to explore the city!

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

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