Saturday, August 8, 2020

Discovering the mining country (4/5) At Al’Fosse 7, warm welcome and generous cuisine

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Far from turning their back on the past, the inhabitants of the former mining country knew how to make it an asset. In the Pas-de-Calais region, the Louvre-Lens hotel has, for example, managed to flow happily into the narrow houses of an old settler. Still in Pas-de-Calais, at Avion, very close to the old Fosse7 formerly operated by the Compagnie des mines de Lieven, it is a restaurant of the same name which now operates, but in a completely different way, coal seam.

Jonathan Fardoux’s restaurant is indeed called AlFosse7. Difficult to make more explicit. In addition, in the street, just in front of the restaurant, an old cast-iron wagon which used to transport coal to the bottom of the mines sets the tone before even entering. Inside, around the light wooden furniture, the decoration is sober but … references to the omnipresent world of mining. How would it be otherwise? Even if mother was formerly a trader in dried flowers, Jonathan Fardoux, the owner of Al’Fosse 7 is a real child of the mining country.

His restaurant, Jonathan Fardoux opened it in November 2008. At the time, he started his family, with his parents, who are now retired. The restaurant room also occupies the large room that once served as a warehouse for his mother’s flowers.

Al’Fosse7 wants to be a “popular” restaurant, the prices of which are calculated as accurately as possible: € 7 for entry. Around 14 € the main course.

White beer, a must! (Photo PB)

As in other restaurants in the region, it serves excellent Pas de Calais cuisine, based (depending on the season) of flamiche with maroilles cheese, Flemish carbonnade, potjevleesch, the welsh, the fricadelle, hochepot, rooster with beer, chicory (this is the name given locally to endives) au gratin, very often accompanied by fries, salad and, according to his tastes (or… the dishes ordered) of a brown, blonde or white beer. Ah white beer! It is a real delight!

This generous gastronomy may not be the most dietetic there is, but it is delicious and speaks of the mining country like no other. The day we went to Al’Fosse7, the Flemish carbonnade was tasty and the meat very tender.

“I am open every day at noon, even on Mondays. In the evening, we only serve Thursday, Friday and Saturday ”, explains Jonathan Fardoux, who now lives in the apartment located above the restaurant. So he only has one floor to go up or down, to come and go, from his home to the restaurant. Doesn’t this proximity lead to a serious lack of separation between work and family life? “No,” he said, laughing. Listening to it, we understand that this restaurant is no longer just an activity to earn a living, it has become his way of life. And that “suits him,” he said, laughing again. The business is going so well that Jonathan Fardoux now plans to buy “the rest” of the house “once split in two. After exchanging two last laughs in this surprising and friendly place, how can you not wish him many more successes? He deserves it.

Paula Boyer

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