Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Restaurant Review: Le Vieux Logis, Tremolat, France

The Coxes before dinner
Before we departed for France I had a look at the, infuriating to navigate, Michelin Guide website to see if there were any recommended restaurants within striking distance of our gîtes in Paunat. The one Michelin starred Le Vieux Logis stood out as top choice. Although much like the Michelin guide, the restaurant has an annoying website, so it was difficult to find out too much and I had to put my faith in the guide.

I'm lucky enough to get  couple of fine dining opportunities a year and look forward to them with gusto. However, I think it would be fair to say there was a little trepidation in our group at the prospect of an evening of French haute cuisine. I was getting nervous that my dining choice would go down like a lead balloon.

The gradens od Le Vieux Logis
After a turn round the garden, we decided to skip a drink on the terrace and headed straight into the dining room to take our seats for the evening.

My default these days is to opt for the set menu as I, mistakenly as it turned out, think of them as the best way to experience all that a restaurant has to offer. Instead we opted for the al la carte menu and the mains, at €50 a go, might have made me draw my breath, but they turned out to be excellent value.

In addition to the courses we ordered, we were treated to an amuse bouche, two mini starters, a pre-dessert, kick ass petit fours and, in the case of Peter's dessert, a double shot of Armagnac on the side. It was generous.

Amuse bouche of rosemary and cheese foccacia, duck croquet with homemade ketchup and salmon with walnut oil and pickles
It is difficult to have favourites when the food was so consistently good. The fois gras crème brûlée was a fun twist on a classic. It was a bit challenging to eat with your brain telling you it should be sweet, while savoury notes appeared on the palate.

The high points of the mains, for me, were the sauces. The tomato essence that was poured over my sea bass was a heady liquor of summer. While the taste of the veal reduction I managed to sneak from Becks' main was excellent too.

The meal finished on a high with the red fruit ravioli petit fours. As the small parcel slipped off the spoon onto my tongue it exploded to give a burst of summer fruits in the mouth. I've no idea how they did it, but I'd love to know.

Thankfully my fears for the evening were unfounded and I think it is safe to say the evening was enjoyed by all. The food was generous, pretty faultless and the relaxed service created a welcoming atmosphere.

Quinelle of crab with apple, parsley, chive and a fennel cream

Fois gras crème brûlée

Filet of swordfish with fresh Cabécou cheese, summer vegetables and a tomato and olive oil sauce

Roast veal, boulangere potatoes, cepes tarlette, bernaise sauce, pomme purée and a taragon sauce

Three cuts of roast lamb, parlsey sauce and gnochi with nuts

A pre-dessert of choux pastry buns one with a walnut cream and a the other with a vanilla cream with a walnut brittle

Chocolate Grand Cru with basil and lemon

Figs cooked in their own juices

Summer fruits with meringue Chantilly and a strawberry sorbet and hibiscus

Petit fours: praline chocolates and red fruit ravioli

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