Postcard from Lille, France
The city moves down several gears on Sunday, so we head out to B Restaurant (ruedesrestos.com/restaurateurs/ brestaurant), as recommended by Le Fooding, the controversial anti-Michelin gastronomy movement. In Attiches, a teeny, rather solidly redbrick hamlet, Grégory Burgeat is dishing up some inspirational cooking. Sure, the décor is the essence of dodgy provincial - black and white with flashes of lipstick red - but our meal is wonderful. The 'Menu Impro' is a litany of extraordinariness: pillowy langoustines languishing under a glass dome swirling with rosemary smoke. The sweetest, freshest mussels from Mont- Saint-Michel. Treacherously addictive homemade sourdough.
While well-upholstered burghers greet friends and admire each other's small dogs - we're the only strangers in the place - it keeps coming: crab salad with smoked caviar served on a column of ice. Silky brandade de morue. Blanquette of snails. Puddings include, bien sûr, délice du spéculoos. There are homemade raspberry jellies; we groan in so much pleasure at these that they give us a handful to take home. And one of the joys of Lille is that, for us lucky southerners, home isn't even that far away.
Marina O'Loughlin, London newspaper Metro's restaurant critic, has remained incognito for 11 years. She regularly travels the UK and abroad in search of culinary adventure.