If you happen to take an evening out of your week to visit Alo Alo Restaurant behind Arundel Village, you may expect to sit down to an old French farce, complete with bustling René and a tone-deaf Edith. Our own version, however, is markedly different.
“We’re not a French restaurant,” insists Lesley, restaurant co-owner and chef extraordinaire, “and we didn’t get the spelling wrong.” Alo Alo, she explains, stands for Adrian and Lesley Orford – a nod towards the welcoming family atmosphere that gives the restaurant its unique quality.
Lesley’s love of European food and decor came from her late husband, who was of German origin. You could spend hours in Alo Alo looking at all the interesting novelty items and beautiful objects (“dust collectors” as her husband calls them) which she has amassed throughout her life.
Devils on horseback
3 large size mushrooms, wrapped in delicious smoked bacon with a mouth-watering garlic sauce which my guest happily mopped up with fresh homemade bead rolls.
Prawn & Avocado Cocktail
Delicious fresh prawns, homemade breadsticks, fresh mixed lettuce- instead of the conventional iceburg- in an excellent velvety marie rose dressing. (Being used to 1970’s British seaside prawn cocktails in a martini glass, I was delighted to see the presentation was once again refreshingly unconventional).
Pork Tenderloin Cordon Bleu
Delicious slices of ham in a béchamel sauce, wrapped in a tender pork loin. Their choice of sides is excellent; my guest chose the baked potato – perfect for soaking up the delicious béchamel sauce!
Pork schnitzel with spaetzle – spaetzle is a celebrated German egg noodle/dumpling. I haven’t had it for many years and it immediately transported me to a little Bavarian restaurant in the mountains.
As health conscious people (!) we ordered a Greek Salad on the side and were delighted to find a huge bowl placed infont of us, including olives, peppers, avocado and other delicious surprises, complimented by a fragrant homemade garlic and olive oil dressing.
We shared a crème brûlée, which is also known as burnt cream, consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. It is probably my favourite pudding and I am very picky about it! My guest had never tried it. I showed him how to test the Crème brûlée, by tapping the top with a spoon and waiting for the satisfying crack of caramel. After one mouthful my guest devoured the lot!
Having spent many years in Europe, my heart lifted when I saw beautifully presented menu, fresh flowers and a glass bottle of fresh, cold water. The restaurant’s eclectic yet cosy decor offered an insight into the life of the chef, Lesley Orford.