BEHIND THE BACK : DERRIERE

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I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that Derriere was the most peculiar and interesting restaurants I’ve seen in my life.

I don’t remember who recommended it to me. In order to see what kind of a place it was so I went online and was stunned. What I saw was a butt with a postcard stuck inside it and the pictures of a naked man from behind. I thought it was a special place and definitely not for us. As I was about the exit the page, I locked on the pictures of the restaurant. It looked like nothing I’d seen before. I got curious and started reading the main page.

First it said Derriere (behind) and it explained the name in the context of a dictionary. According to that Derriere meant:

  1. The one in the back;
  2. Bottom of a human or animal;
  3. The family restaurant behind 404 and Andy Wahloo.

It seemed like it wasn’t all that special after all. It got the name because it was behind 404 and Andy Wahloo, whatever that is. Moreover, a family restaurant. I knew Andy Warhol but who was this Andy Wahloo and what was 404. I looked it up. 404 was a Northern African (mainly Moroccan) family restaurant and Andy Wahloo was a bar. This Derriere was nothing more than a restaurant located behind these establishment. Undoubtedly they had chosen a provocative name like this as part of a cunning marketing strategy to attract customers.

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We went as a family. It is not easy to go there. You have to wait a long time for a reservation or know people that can help.

Access to the interior is via a courtyard/garden. As soon as you walk in, you’re faced with a roguish, messy scenery  that boasts all kinds and styles of decor and items. If your son or daughter had a place like this, I guarantee you won’t even be visiting your dear grandchildren. There’s a ping pong table in the middle, an old radio, TV, scattered books, magazines, different chairs and coffee tables… In short, they have achieved the perfect incompatible mess! People just sit wherever they can; some around the ping pong table, some on chairs and lounges, some on kitchen stools, on the bed upstairs or the dresser of the lady of the house …Our fate led us to the floor. We slumped on ottomans covered with North African rugs.

We asked for the menu and they gave us a bunch of pages that looked to be ripped out of an encyclopedia. Every food and drink had an explanation as if from a dictionary. What was more surprising was the Wine Manifesto they gave us with the menu. The long manifesto shortly said : “We will not serve you wine, you’ll paddle your own canoe ! I loved this rule and the reasons that were explained in detail below, because:

  1. There wouldn’t be a waiter around you that spied on you every second. He wouldn’t refill our glasses as soon as we were running low and ask us if would like another bottle;
  2. We wouldn’t have a waiter who refilled the glass of white wine before it was finished, increasing the temperature of the spirit.

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We ordered our food and drinks. The restaurant advertised that is served French cuisine but we ate a lot of appetizers from North African cuisine. We gladly served ourselves wine. The food and drinks were pretty good. After dinner, I went upstairs to the bathroom to wash up.  There was an additional peculiarity there; there was a giant tub instead of a basin. When I went downstairs, the waiter cut me off:

“- Did you go into the mirrored closet at the end of the hall” ?

“-Why would I ever go into a closet?..  Do I look like a lover that has to hide in a closet” ?

I expected something like “What’s wrong with you, you’re not that bad’ but you can’t get answers like that at my age. The waiter insisted:

-Monsieur, just try it”. So I climbed the stairs in desperation once more, went to the closet at the end of the hall and opened the mirrored door. I did and encountered the last surprise at the restaurant. The closet was just a portal At the back, there was a huge garden like space filled with green plants for smokers.

“Well, at least I got into a closet in my lifetime” I said and went downstairs.

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