A warm summer day in France, golden hour and La Grenouillere. We truly stepped into a fairy tale at this old auberge located by a stream just outside the village of Montreuil. Attached to the old building we entered were two sleek new metallic marquees where the kitchen and dining room with garden view were situated. The holes in the hallway provided us a little sneak preview into the kitchen where the staff was already prepping for the dinner that evening. We continued into the fully blooming garden with the last rays of sunlight guiding us to our hut. A hut with a thatch roof, a bath looking out over the garden, the best food magazines and a welcoming drink. We only missed Paul Mc Carney singing ‘We all stand together’ to get the image of that clip complete.
And then we got an appetite. An appetite for a degustation menu with around twelve courses at the restaurant just a couple of meters from our hut. From seaweed butter with freshly baked bread, nettle pillows, melon with langoustines, grilled oyster with courgette, a spoon full of honeycomb and a green baba au rum: it was all clever, balanced and subtle. Brought to us with a smooth service we felt truly pampered. And with the floor to ceiling windows all around the dining room it still felt like we were sitting in the luscious garden.
The meal ended with extra birthday pie cause it was my 30st birthday that weekend and went fulfilled and satisfied to our hut. And luckily we were staying there for two nights so we could enjoy the big breakfast including a huge freshly baked brioche bread 2 times. Just as we did with dinner. I needed it, I turned 30. And I have to say, the second night might have even been better than the first. We got a total different menu including a couple of their signature dishes. Like the name of the restaurant might have already predicted there were definitely some frog legs on the menu. My first encounter with these soft and tender pieces of meat baked in dairy butter is hopefully not a last cause you can wake me up for these ones anytime. The sweetbreads that followed can go on the wake me up list as well! This time we had a view on the kitchen as we were sitting at the chef’s table to get the full experience. Seeing Alexandre Gauthier and his team working focussed, calm and respectful to each other made the whole happening complete. I’m pretty sure all food will taste better and dishes will be more memorable when the overall experience is good. In this case at La Grenouillere, with the fairy tale setting, the presentation, the service and the holiday feeling the food almost good not go wrong. And it didn’t at all, a year later I can still remember the things I ate, saw and felt. What a perfect place to alleviate the pain of turning 30. Where to go now a year later?
La Grenouillere, 19 Rue de la Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil