Hidden away in the not-very-mean backstreets of Cantonments, Le Tandem is as French as I’ve seen Accra get. And that includes Alliance Francaise. The only menu is a large, hand-written whiteboard that the waiter props up beside your table, and it is crammed with bistro staples: french onion soup, beef bourguignon, bouillabaisse, andouillette, escargots.
The basic offering rarely changes, but ask about daily specials – from the sturdy, affable French owner if possible, as he often knows them better than his staff. Scallops, duck confit, home-smoked swordfish and foie gras have all featured.
Good old Alsacian choucroute, an unlikely borrow from Germany, also deserves a namecheck. Le Tandem’s reading comes decked with potatoes, pork shoulder – the fat shamefully good, like loose clotted cream – a proper, smoky frankfurt banger and a roundel of leberwurst. It reflects what I like about the restaurant itself: it isn’t peddling the bloodless, airbrushed version of French food that is so easily (and so lucratively) sold abroad, but a muscular version that also has a place for raw stuff, intestines and pickled cabbage.
Guests choose their wine direct from a conditioned ‘cellar’ off the dining area, but there’s no price guide. That is nonsense, of course, so you should have no qualms about making your waiter do the legwork. How much is this one? And this? And this? And this? - if we all keep at it they’ll get bored and print a wine list.
From what I’ve pieced together, bottles begin at around 70 cedis, and run well into the hundreds. That reflects the pricing for food. It’s equivalent to a mid-range London restaurant, with mains running from around 35 cedis (just over £10) to around 60 (£20).
Finding it: The good news is that Le Tandem is equidistant from two landmarks: the US Embassy and Palm Wine Junction. Taxi drivers will know both, and both have major tro-tro stops. The bad news is that both still leave you with some work to do.
- From the US Embassy, take a right at the roundabout, then turn left at the end of the road. Take the first right, passing Eastonments Lodge where the road curves. Next up, two T junctions: go right at the first and follow the road round a corner. Go left at the second. You’ll see Le Tandem on your right.
- From Palm Wine Junction, head north up Burma Camp Road and take the first left (not far – if you get to Southern Fried Chicken, you’ve gone past it). Turn left at the T junction and follow the road round a corner. Le Tandem is ahead of you on the right.