Today we went to have lunch with Yannick's godmother Tatan (Auntie) Paulette at a restaurant in Roanne where she lives. Roanne is a municipality about 90 kms northwest of Lyon and well known for good food. Our experiences in the restaurants around here have always been wonderful and today was no exception.
Today was another hot day. We arrived at the restaurant at 12:40pm and were seated on the terrace overlooking the garden.
Tatan Paulette and Yannick.
Here we started with the apéritif (pre-meal drink) which is accompanied by an assortment of nibblies. The server seemed a bit impatient and grumpy so I didn't dare ask too many questions. But here we had tapenade mousse canapé, little dry goat cheese pieces, cream of salmon roll, and anchovy puff.
I started with the cream of salmon roll, and as soon as I put it in my mouth, I knew that this was going to be a very good meal. Everything was delicious.
Amuse-bouche (translates as "mouth amuser") which is not ordered as part of the meal but offered by the house to everybody to arouse the taste bud for the meal. Here we have mussels in gaspacho with alfalfa sprouts.
My Entrée (first course) was scallops rolled in smoked salmon, potato mousse, with vegetable vinaigrette. Delicious. After this I was full already.
Yannick's entrée was duck foie gras made in house.
Tatan Paulette's entrée was rabbit with broccoli mousse and cream of figue.
Granita (similar to sorbet) was offered by the house to each diner as a palate cleanser to neutralize the tongue for the main course.
Tatan Paulette and I ordered the same thing for our main course which was mullets with Fava beans and olives.
Yannick's main course was very rare steak (cooked to perfection according to him) with morels and potato galettes.
For the cheese course, we could choose between fresh cheese with different sauces or a selection of dry cheeses. Tatan Paulette chose this fresh cheese with raspberry coulis. Yannick opted out and they offered him a fruit salad instead.
I went for a selection of cheese. So many to choose from. You see the orange cheese with the pyramid shape there? It's called Boulette d'Avesnes and I had been told that it is the king among pungent and fiery cheeses. It's flavored with tarragon, cloves, parsley and pepper, then its rind is washed in beer. As I had been searching for strong cheeses, I had been challenged to (and waiting for) tasting this cheese and today was a good occasion.
Yannick took a picture of me with my cheese plate. He was waiting to catch me making faces at this ultimate cheese test.
My selection of cheese. A variety of goat and cow cheeses and the infamous Boulette d'Avesnes. My verdict? Not so bad at all!
My dessert was apple tatin. Here the chef got creative, using a shortbread instead of the usual flaky crust or puff pastry. What a great idea. I was thinking about my nectarine tart with the soggy short crust the other day and this would make a creative solution. It was accompanied by crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream and a velvety mousse. Every bit of it was scrumptious.
Yannick's dessert was caramelized pear in filo. I had to taste a piece of that too. How else would I be able to describe it in the post otherwise? It was like baklava with caramelized pear instead of the nuts. Also another really great idea.
Tatan Paulette's dessert was sorbet maison.
Did you think we were done? Not quite. We were offered mignardises, a selection of bite-sized desserts / petit four served at the end of the meal to accompany coffee or tea.
We left the restaurant at 4:10pm which meant we were at the table for three and a half hours. Well, this is shorter than some of our other Sunday lunches.
A little stroll to help digestion was a good idea.