I wanted to find a rather good local restaurant to take some Australian friends who were visiting me in the Loire and this was on my shortlist. So, the week before their arrival I booked a table for two in order to appreciate first-hand the dining experience.
We arrived a little early after changing in the car rather than driving past the restaurant only to return within the hour. Whilst we waited, seated outside we were greeted by a large dog, closely followed by the chef and then the head waiter who showed us to the lounge area and offered us aperitifs.
The menu was not overly complicated and the young man explained each of the dishes available in both the A’ la carte section and as courses in the fixed menu selections. I felt a little awkward as I had already decided upon the “chef’s surprise”, a six course degustation menu with wines to match.
My disappointment at being the only diners that evening was short lived as the tables started to fill with a group of about eight or ten people and another couple.
I’ll not go fully into the courses served as it would be very unfair to spoil the surprise element, suffice to say that the dishes were all excellent, prepared using locally reared meat and vegetables from the restaurant garden. The fish and seafood courses were of equal quality.
The wines, one from Vendee, one from the Loire and the other from Gigondas all paired well with the food and were served with much aplomb and good descriptions of both the food and wine.
In the end I did not visit with the Australians, but I will definitely return again, this restaurant was a great find in rural France and deserves to thrive. The head waiter was a credit to the establishment, albeit in spite of being asked more than once if he was sure that the Gigondas was from Bordeaux as he suggested and not the Rhone he would not be swayed. The second waiter who served the table was also very professional, if perhaps a little less confident but none the less both helped to make the evening rather special and complemented the quality of food served.
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