Thank Friday it’s Lunchtime – Hotel Aiguebelle, Céreste
The Hotel Aiguebelle is the very last eatery we’ve tried in Céreste.
It’s tucked away at the back of a car-park, just beside the tourist centre and the Gîte d’Etape (hostel). It looks nice, with a cheery yellow facade, blue awning and tables and parasols laid out on a deck in front of it. We were surprised it was so empty, though – the other restaurants were heaving and there were only four other people there besides us. Perhaps because it’s set back from the main road a little and tourists don’t see it? Or is it the food, we wondered…
We settled ourselves into a nice shady spot and mulled over the menu for a moment. It looked interesting, but the entrée du jour (starter of the day) was melon and jambon cru, which appealed to me straight away – simple, light and cool!
The LSH opted for baked St Marcellin – a kind of cream cheese, breaded and baked.
Both were good. To be really nit-picky, I could say that some of the salad seemed to have come from a tin – the asparagus spears and the pickled red pepper, specifically – but they were good starters and boded well for the rest of the meal.
The LSH ordered Magret de Canard, duck breast, cooked à point, or medium. It came with a really good Gratin Dauphinoise, a piperade and a roasted tomato laced with Herbes de Provence. On the downside, the duck was over-cooked. On the upside, the LSH HATES cooked tomatoes but he gingerly tried a piece of this one and declared it delicious!
I was sticking to the Menu du Jour so I was a bit restricted in my choices for the main course. I chose something from the Grillades section – steak!
It came with nice chips (out of a packet, but they all seem to do that here…), yet more salad and the same little roast tomato. Again the meat was over-cooked. I asked for it rare, I got it medium. It tasted good though.
I asked for mayonnaise to go with the chips and was a little surprised when this was brought to the table :
Don’t get me wrong, I sure as hell don’t serve mayonnaise out of a crystal bowl at home, but Hotel Aiguebelle has a classy feel to it – they let themselves down badly with this.
Desserts were excellent. I had faisselle (which is a kind of fromage frais) mixed with cream and served with summer fruits.
The LSH ordered tarte au pommes, apple tart, which was beautifully presented and delicious.
Two coffees completed the meal and we waddled back down the road, full and happy.
I don’t understand why it was so empty, when there were clearly so many hungry people in Céreste. The food was good – not excellent, but good!
Service was fine, the waitress was very pleasant and there were no delays – unusual in peak season.
Value was quite good, too. My menu du jour was €18 – not bad, but you will find cheaper! The total came to €47, for two three course meals, a half bottle of wine and two coffees.
Here’s the ratings :
Star Rating (out of 5) :
Service : ✮✮✮✮
Food : ✮✮✮ Am I being harsh? Meat not cooked as requested, a possibility of tinned veg?
Value : ✮✮✮✮
Ambiance : ✮✮✮ Not the best, unfortunate location at the back of a car-park