Thank Friday it’s Lunchtime – La Griotte, Ceréste

The honour of writing the first post on the new blog goes to the LSH, who took over Thank Friday it’s Lunchtime duties today while I was busy getting to grips with this WordPress thingy.  Thanks LSH!  Enjoy, Everybody else!

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Times are tough, and when times are tough its good practice to revert to barter and save those precious pennies for another day. We have had an apple lying on the counter top, just beside our fruit bowl for nigh on six months now, actually we brought it all the way from Cork. So when our good friends R+G expressed an interest in having it in return for lunch we naturally jumped at the opportunity and headed off with them to La Griotte, in Ceréste.

La Griotte, or The Cherry, opened only last week. Its a family style eatery that specialises in Crêpes and  Gallettes (a buckwheat based crepe) and is right next door to where R+G live. R is a partner in Scaramouche, a new Artisan Ice cream company. In April Scaramouche will open an Ice Cream parlour in the basement of R+G’s house. It’s a happy juxtaposition of two businesses that will create a lovely family corner in the village. So we have been looking forward to trying the fare in La Griotte…before the summer hordes of tourists and children arrive 🙂

The sun is shining here, but man is it cold, so no eating outside just yet. To be honest in this eatery that is no hardship. The interior is small but it  has a beautiful vaulted stone ceiling,  of the type that you see all over this part of France. In days gone by these rooms would have been caves, cellars or perhaps, as in our house, a Bergerie where animals were kept. Nowadays they are used for restaurants and shops of all kinds.

As is normal you can order à la carte, or just go for le menu. The latter contained most of the options on the à la carte menu, but cost only €14.50 for three courses and coffee. Sure you’d be mad not to go with it.

Growing up in Ireland I was not exposed to Crêpes. We had pancakes. Not the bowel-clogging stacks you get in America. Ours lay somewhere between that and the uber thin Crêpes that you tend to find here. Mom used to smother them in melted butter, lashings of sugar and a healthy squeeze of lemon and then roll them up like a spring roll. Pure simple joy…….served once a year on Pancake Tuesday. So savoury crêpes as a lunch is slightly alien to me and having had several days of great vegetarian meals I needed meat. Thankfully there was more than Crêpes on offer.

For each course on le menu one could choose from three options. For the starter there was a green salad with Garlic, a plate of Charcuterie and the special. For the main the choice was a Burger, any pasta dish or a Crêpe, while the dessert options were all crêpe/gallette based. And joy of joy one was with sugar. I felt sure the chef could be persuaded of the truth and justice of adding butter and lemon.

I reasoned that the best time to eat healthy diet food is while your waiting for the meat to cook, so I opted for the salad as did R+G. Martine, being the only one of us that was alert to what the menu had to offer, asked what the special was. “Tarte de Chèvre”  came the chirpy reply. The salad orders were quickly cancelled and we all herded after the goat. It appears I was not the only one that craved meat as R+G went for the burger as well, whiled Martine opted for the Pâtes aux cepes, wild mushroom pasta.

Tarte de Chèvre

Tarte de Chèvre

The tarte de Chèvre was really good. A very simple dish, presented simply but with a wonderful taste and texture. It is essentially a quiche with goats cheese but very very light with a crisp pastry, unlike the ones you sometimes get in Ireland which can be substituted for door jams. I am told the trick to this lightness is to beat the egg whites first and then fold in the yolks.

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The burger was tasty and well cooked, with ne’er a trace of horse. I do have  pet peeve however about using cheese slices on a burger rather than real cheese. Unfortunately they chose to use the cheese slices, however on this occasion it did not really spoil the burger. The chips were to die for, R and I scarfed the lot.

Pasta with wild mushrooms

Pasta with wild mushrooms

Martine’s pasta dish was excellent, with just the right amount of pasta and good amount of sauce, packed with mushrooms.  The mains were washed down with a glass or two of red wine, while Martine further asserted her individuality by sticking with a white. The trick to ordering wine in many of these places is to go with a pichet of the house wine. It usually very quaffable, and very reasonably priced.

Dessert was a bridge too far I’m afraid, we were all stuffed.

As always the food is King, but it is the company that makes or breaks the meal. The owner was very attentive and full of smiles, chatting away with us and made us feel very welcome. R+G are great company. Discussion ranged from organic foods, to google glass, to the new Pope and the writings of Peter F Hamilton.  They even conceded that they are likely to be beaten by Wales this weekend in the Six Nations.

Not a bad trade so, an apple for a really enjoyable meal. Ok it was an Apple Mac, but I still think we got the best part of the deal.

This is very much a small, family type Café with no airs and graces.  Don’t expect Haute Cuisine, but don’t expect to be disappointed either.

Star Rating (out of 5) : 

Service : ✮✮✮✮✮
Food : ✮✮✮✮
Value : ✮✮✮✮
Ambiance : ✮✮✮✮

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