A tale of two salads: Maison Mayci, Harborne

A can of tuna, a couple of decent eggs (I like those Burford Brown ones) – cooked somewhere between soft and hard-boiled, ideally with a slightly runny yolk. some green beans from the market/garden/allotment – briefly blanched in salty water. A nice lettuce, perhaps some ruby little gem, cut into quarters. A few piquant provencal olives. A couple of warm, waxy salad potatoes – perhaps Charlotte or Roseval. A few thin slices of red onion. Some sweet, British summer cherry tomatoes. Simply arrange artfully on the plate and cover with a dressing made from a neutral oil, a good red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic crushed in salt, whisked so it is emulsified and becomes a little thick. Drape a couple of decent anchovies on top if you like.

— How I, and I imagine a French person might make a nicoise salad

A whiffy old piece of tuna fillet steak, nuked to oblivion on the stove with cartilage left on. A huge mound of flavourless, tough curly lettuce, outnumbering other ingredients 3:1. Back of the fridge-cold eggs, boiled to within an inch of their lives. Aim for the yolk to go greyish. Green beans, ideally picked and shipped from Kenya some weeks back – cooked without salt and refrigerated hard. Huge, flavourless Dutch tomatoes, cut into large segments. Cold potatoes, cooked – without salt – until not quite soft. Combine that lot into a large bowled plate and pour an ungenerous amount of thick dressing tasting of nothing except oil and perhaps an artificial thickener.

— How Maison Mayci in Harborne makes their nicoise salad

Deeply disappointing, especially as I know the (French) owners would do it much better than this if they were manning the stoves. I still like this chain in Moseley but the Harborne branch has not hit the same levels.

Also the patisserie in all branches is no way as good as it used to be, is it all bought in now?

A shame because Harborne could really use a decent cafe and bakery.

Addendum: I just stumbled upon this recipe by Simon Hopkinson from his new series. Looks good to me.

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