It’s not quite a secret but within the Casino sits a restaurant of considerable allure. Through the gilded halls lies Le Salon Rose, one of SBM’s outstanding eateries in the heart of the heart of Monte-Carlo.
Fortunately for my guest and myself there was a bit of a breeze blowing and we sat on the sun-soaked terrace a few steps down from the main dining room quite alone, except, of course for the splendid view of the Med, the yachts gyrating at anchor and the tall palms displaying their fronds with more exuberance than usual.
We arrived shortly after midday, bearing in mind that my son is not yet 18 and all children must leave the Casino – including its restaurants – by 13:45.
At lunchtime Le Salon Rose offers three set menus, the Poker, priced at 20 euros, comprised of a choice between a starter and a pasta dish, plus a glass of wine; the Black Jack, which offers a main course and a dessert or cheese, plus the wine, for 33 euros; and the top of the range Roulette for the high-rollers, with a starter or pasta dish, plus a main course, plus the dessert or cheese, and the wine, of course, for a stake of 46 euros.
We decided to place our bets on the Black Jack.
My 16 year-old opted for the hamburger, which was no surprise, since he always has the same dish wherever we are, making us as a family of international experts. Since I eat no red meat except for lamb, for reasons I won’t go into here, I sampled the french fries. Quite how they do it I have no idea, but crisp and brown on the outside and succulent on the inside, these are the most reliable chips in this altar to risk-taking.
I went for the fish, which came with an offering of sun-kissed Mediterranean vegetables bathed in olive oil. Several days later I can still conjure up the taste. In one word, delightful.
Pudding involved a slight and welcome excursion back into the dining room to choose from a glass case of wonders. I chose the fruitiest specimen on show, and would have loved to have tried more. However, it was just enough to bring this exceptional lunch to a close, with an espresso as a full stop.
Lunch for two, including coffee, a coke for junior, and an extra glass of wine, came to a very reasonable 88 euros. The view from the terrace alone was worth it, and we certainly didn’t break the bank at Monte-Carlo for an outstanding lunching experience.