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!
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.
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.
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