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post-Valentine's Day Dinner at L'Eau Vive

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Since M had his class at the American Language Center on Tuesday night, we decided that we would have a V-Day dinner at L'Eau Vive on the 15th instead (after my French class and tennis lesson). The nuns recognized me from all the trainings we had held there. Unfortunately the menu had changed since my last visit and so I could not order my much-anticipated pork dish. But the atmosphere was very pleasant and both M and I sang with gusto "Ave Maria." It was just like being back in Catholic school!



Plate With A View: L'Eau Vive Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
By Rhiannon Batten
Published: 20 March 2004
This famous restaurant, run by nuns, is a sanctuary from the noise and fumes of Burkina Faso's capital.

THE PLATE

This famous restaurant, run by nuns, is a sanctuary from the noise and fumes of Burkina Faso's capital.

Its food is largely as Francophone as the country. At first glance the menu reads like an aria to the cuisine of Burkina's former colonial power - from zesty onion soup to sensitively-seared steak au poivre and crème brûlée.

Despite the European influence, the regularly-changing menu includes a choice of Burkinabé specials such as lamb in peanut sauceand grilled Nile perch kebabs.

The drinks list is equally inclusive, running from Laurent Perrier champagne to freshly-pressed ginger juice.

THE VIEW

Come here during Ouagadougou's scorching midday heat and you'll be directed straight to the air-conditioned dining room. In the cooler evenings most people prefer to eat in the tranquil courtyard beyond, which is filled with bougainvillea trees.

Here the peace is broken only by customers scraping their 1980s-style chairs out from under matching tables, and, at around 9.30 every evening, by the real reason people choose to eat here. Setting aside waitressing duties for a few minutes, the nuns respectfully face a statue of the Virgin Mary and launch into a gentle, guitar-backed version of "Ave Maria". The only thing missing is a guest appearance from Julie Andrews.

THE BILL

A lavish three-course dinner for two, without wine, costs around CFA 15,000 (£16).

L'Eau Vive, Avenue Kwame Nasser (00 226 30 63 03)

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