Thank Friday it’s Lunchtime – Restaurant Carluc, Ceréste
This week’s TFIL is a little different, in that we actually had our meal out on Thursday evening, not Friday lunchtime. The quality of the food won’t change from morning to evening, we reasoned, although there won’t be a Menu du Midi (lunchtime special) on offer.
We ate in Carluc a couple of times last year and were never disappointed, so we had high hopes as we arrived at 7.30pm. The owner greeted us like old friends, and actually, it felt like something of a homecoming – it hadn’t changed inside at all, there were some familiar dishes on the menu and best of all, our friends R & G joined us for dinner!
The LSH and I have the same taste in a lot of things (except he likes fish!) and we often opt for the same dish. This evening was no exception, and we both ordered the same starter, Croustillant de Chévre (goats cheese in filo pastry). In fact, the croustillant appealed to everyone at the table and we all ordered it!
It was superb – goats cheese and mouth-watering semi-dried tomatoes wrapped in crisp filo pastry, with a crisp green salad on the side – an excellent start to our meal.
G and I opted for the same main course, Cuisse de Pintade, a leg of guinea fowl. Guinea fowl has been a revelation and I buy it quite a lot in the supermarket here. To me, it’s just like chicken used to be, in the good old days before they started pumping it full of liquid. The meat is more fibrous and less glaringly white than chicken, and although some people might find the flavour a little gamey, it just tastes extra-chickeny to me.
It came with a little heap of risotto, a really good gravy-like sauce and seasonal vegetables on the side.
The LSH ordered Bouef aux Echalots, or beef with shallots. This is an old favourite on the Carluc menu, and it’s always good. The beef is cooked to taste (French people are always surprised when we order our beef rare!) and served in a rich sauce.
This was served with mashed potato and the same seasonal veggies. It was very, very tasty, but the beef was a little tough.
R ordered spaghetti a la carbonara, I’m not sure why, I always thought he was a beef man myself! He ate it all anyway and said it was good!
We finally moved on to dessert, where we encountered some more old favourites. Unfortunately, at this stage, the wine was flowing, the company was good and the food was good, so we forgot to take photographs of the food…
The first old favourite was Pain Perdu – literally it means “lost bread” but “pain perdu” is French for stale bread. In the sense of dessert, it means bread pudding. It’s quite different to English bread pudding, the bread is usually baked in slices and served with a caramel sauce, and, in the Carluc, topped off with cinnamon ice-cream. If you’re ever in Carluc, order it! I promise you won’t be disappointed! Then there was Tiramisu, tarte tatin (an upside down apple pie) and crème brûlée… all good!
Price wise, dinner is always going to be more expensive than lunch, but even at that, this meal came out at just over €21 per head – not bad at all for good food in a pleasant atmosphere. It’s a very different place to the Saigon Wok which we visited last week, both offer different things, but I think I’d opt for Carluc any day I was given the choice.