Julie and I hopped along to the Mange Grenouille restaurant last week for a late works Christmas outing. Julie provides invaluable assistance and advice throughout the year and even though she is my partner I thought we should have a works outing. A further incentive is I can put the cost down against tax, but don’t tell Julie that
I had my eye on a nice little restaurant in St Aignan which is about the same distance from our house as Loches but significantly is in the department of Loir et Cher. We live in the adjacent department Indre et Loire and do not visit St Aignan as often as Loches as most publicity and services focus on to the department in which you live, sometimes at the expensive of adjacent towns or departments. In any event I think Loches is much nicer than St Aignan . However we do pop in and out of St Aignan and had eaten a couple of indifferent meals in the town. I had heard of some good reports of the Mange Grenouille so I thought we would give it a go.
The restaurant is just off the centre of St Aignan down a quiet side street. First impressions were pretty positive, a sort of unpretentious shabby chic (which is a positive comment), lunch was a very reasonable 14 euros, no choice, which I prefer.
Premier Plat was Salade de Lentilles du Berry au Magret Fume (Salad of Berry Lentils with Smoked Duck Breast) – the plate was very nice, simple but full of flavour the lentils perfectly cooked in a fragrant balanced vinaigrette, yum. Berry refers to the ancient province of Berry that existed until the organisation of France departments in 1790, Berry had and still enjoys an excellent reputation for its Lentils!
Plat Principal was Saute du Porc a la Moutarde a l’Ancienne, Gratin Dauphinois – A solid piece of cooking not flash but the dish isn’t flashy, just full flavoured traditional fare well suited to the season.
Dessert was Poire Belle Helene – Julie was really pleased with this as she is very fond of pears and appreciates a good Belle Helene, would it meet her hopes….. Easily, in fact she thinks it is the best she had ever eaten. Good quality ice-cream (natch), a spoon licking bitter chocolate sauce and a perfectly poached pear that had been cooked in Orange Flower Water! a nice touch. The ingredients also held nicely in balance, not too much, not too little.
The whole meal complemented by some decent wine by the glass from Pouille the home of Jackie Marteau the Vin Man of a previous post, and a coffee to finish. The addition for the whole meal 20 euros a head, excellent value. I love living in France
We will be back, I can not see any reasaon to eat elsewhere when we are in St Aignan. I did notice that the restaurant was full and turning people away, pas mal for a weekday in January, if you want to follow in our footsteps you’ll need to book, I know we will.
Hope to see you there.