one course in simple French lunch

image: one of the courses of our special correspondent's "simple French lunch."

|| 10 October 2021

A Simple French Lunch

Our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat recently sent wonderful photos and information about "a simple French lunch." she and her husband enjoyed on their homeward bound journey. I had been wanting to try some new software I acquired to show you more images than the usual Nouvelles format accomodated. This seemed to be a good opportunity to try it out.

About the lunch, Kat explained in her email:

We always break the journey to Calais with a two hour lunch en route. After the owners of our old favourite, “Le Pied sur la Platte” at Blangy-sur-Bresle retired, and the restaurant closed, we stumbled upon this hotel-restaurant at Aumale.

Aumale is a very small and not particularly attractive town, and the hotel seems to function as a conference centre and wedding venue. There is nothing particularly distinguished about it either.

But: I have never see the restaurant anything less than half full, even on a weekday, when it is a popular choice for (two hour!) business lunches. On Sundays you have to book a lunch table well is advance - and arrive to find tables for up to a dozen people, often comprising three generation, having a birthday celebration, couples “of a certain age” enjoying a quiet meal together and young families treating their parents to a special lunch.

The tables are well spaced, and the dining room has access to a garden with outdoor seating, so younger children can stretch their legs between courses. I have never seen a badly behaved child , but not even French parents would expect them to sit through what, on Sunday, can stretch to a three hour meal without a little break.

So much for the venue. Food to follow in next section!

Here we go!

We begin with two “amuse bouche”: I have no idea what goes into them, but celeriac, creme fraiche, avocado and tomato were in there somewhere.

Then came a dish of sweetbreads, garnished with a poached quails egg. Then the “Trou Normande” an apple sorbet with a dash of calvados, to clear the palate for what came next. Which was a dish of lamb cutlets, accompanied by white beans.

Then came the cheeseboard: I chose a hot Neufchâtel creation instead. Dessert was a choice of flans, moulded puddings or a limoncello soufflé (to be ordered in advance of the meal) Finally, coffee and petite fours maison.

Of course, that was just my choice. The €36 menu contained delicious alternatives.

That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But you will see from the photos that the servings are small. No plates piled high with food. One does not come away feeling stuffed. And this is not an every day meal for the French! Even so, I skip breakfast and dinner on the day I dine at La Villa des Houx!

Merci to Kat for sharing her "simple French lunch."