Thursday, 8 September 2011

Restaurant review.

We don't want you thinking that we dine out on a daily basis but here is another post on the restaurant theme,

At this time of year we tend to have to say bon voyage to friends who are 'part-timers' here - although Mike and Liz, who have a house in nearby Lesigny, seem to be spending more and more of the year here - and last night we joined them and other friends, for a farewell dinner. We had intended going to Le Paille-en-Queue in St Remy, where had had lunch before ( this will be in another post ), but found out that it was closed on Wednesdays, like a lot of other restaurants locally. A French neighbour informed us that probably family run places would most likely be closed on Wednesdays as schools were also closed. During this meeting, over drinks, we also worked out the meaning of the name of this restaurant - we could not understand why they would have chosen what looked like a seagull to promote a place in rural France! Well, after some English/French translations Pauline carefully spelled out the name and our immediate neighbour, Dominique explained that it was in fact a sea-bird from the Ile de la  Réunion and that they must specialize on the food from this French overseas department (to the east of Madagascar). This was a bit of a coincidence as she and husband Francois have a restaurant in Paris doing the same thing as he is originally from there. 

Anyway I digress... the recently refurbished 'Relais de la Mothe' in Yzeures-sur-Creuse was open on Wednesdays.When we arrived, we had booked for 7.30, we were surprised to see that every other diner that night had the same idea! Within minutes the place soon filled up with somewhere between 40/50 covers,you'd think nowhere else was open!. With only 2 staff it was never going to be the best service - though they did work very hard - they had to! They had two evening menus on offer, a 19 euro 'Menu Gourmet' and a 28 euro 'Menu Gastronmique'. Our company sampled both to varying degrees of satisfaction. Unfortunately my evening got off to a bad start. Aperitifs were ordered - I declined as I was the 'designated driver'- and eventually came. A glass of water would have been nice but we had to ask for this - a 1/2 ltr bottle (warm) was produced for the six of us! My fellow diners were then given a plate of hors d'oeuvres but apparently because I did not have an aperitif I was not worthy! My friends pleaded my case and I was treated to the same,some thinly cut garlic saucisson, a small parcel of merguez (we think!) and a small slice of olive bread.. I had a feeling it was not going to be my night!
My starter of 'Bavarois aux Tomatates' could not be supplied as they had run out of tomatoes!!! I could have brought some (see10th Having said that, the rabbit pate supplied was a good substitute. My duck or 'canette' main course was served popularly pink but seemed older than its years. There was no cheese on the 'Gourmet' menu -though I was given a few titbits from those who had ordered from the 'Gastronmique' - unfortunately they had also to provide some bread as mine had been removed - obviously because I wouldn't need it! My desert 'Coupe Cardinale' a fruit sorbet came complete with still frozen raspberries and strawberries! We declined coffees as we felt the waitresses had done enough for the night and we were not sure that we had the time!
According to the more experienced/knowledgeable  members of our company the wine menu was not great, though their choice,when it eventually came, was very nice,
The place itself having just been renovated was pleasant enough and designed in an 'orangerie' style but the lack of soft furnishings produced a 'dining hall' sound due to the lively conversations of the numerous tables.The wall lights are of an interesting design - origamiesque (sure that's not a word ) versions of a deer,a bison and an ibis (though we had no zoologists in the company to confirm this) two of which you can see in the photograph of the interior of the restaurant. Where my experience here was not great I have to add the rider that other diners (our American guests at 'Les Balcons'  plus some other English people we knew were here) thought their meals ranged from very good to delicious. 

We will give it another try but perhaps not on a Wednesday!
The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday or as my French neighbour David said - not on a Monday or Tuesday - ever the conservative! You have two choices of lunchtime menus also - the 'express' at 14 euro and the 'gourmande' at 16euro - I'd go for the 16 euro - but then what do I know!

The restaurant/hotel's website

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