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Hotel des Mines a review by Tate
5,Allee de la Verrerie, Faymoreau. Tel.02 51 00 59 59
Hôtel des Mines
The Hôtel des Mines built in 1918 and situated at the heart of the mining centre at Faymoreau was our choice of eatery today. It was a lunchtime sortie into the very North Eastern corner of the Vendée. This time it was just Trevor and I, the weather was awful and had been for a week, so we were looking forward to something to lift our spirits. Would the Hôtel des Mines in this unusual setting amidst the miners’ cottages in the mining village of Faymoreau do the trick?
Entering the dining room I was pleasantly surprised by the large airy dining room with its high ceiling and agreeable décor. We were seated on distressed look chairs at an ordinary table with a fake wooden top, which was covered with a disposable paper place setting. The elevated part of the 120 seat dining room, which looked altogether more stylish, wasn’t being used for the lunchtime service but even unused its extra elegance added to the ambience of the restaurant. There were plenty of other diners, normally a good sign, and we settled down with our aperitifs, a Riccard for me and a non alcoholic beer for Trevor, and perused the menu.
Other than a la carte there was a 19 euro menu which looked pretty good but included 1.50 euro supplements for each of the cheese and dessert courses, or there was the 11 euro meal of the day which both Trevor and I opted for. On the menu today was the hors d’oeuvres table for entrées, a choice of veal or monkfish as a main course and either white cheese or chocolate mousse to finish, wine was not included. The hors d’oeuvres table wasn’t exceptional, but it wasn’t the worst selection that I’ve seen, and the food was acceptable. I had the rôti de veau or roast veal, it was served with a thin sauce, a large quantity of haricots vert or green beans and surprisingly a small amount of shredded lettuce with a vinaigrette drizzled over the top. Sadly the veal was not the best cut I’ve ever eaten and unexpectedly parts of it were tough and sinewy. The sauce smelled good but was disappointingly lacking in taste and the lettuce was totally incongruous with it. The veal was unfortunately overcooked and Trevor ventured the explanation that as the restaurant had almost certainly pre-cooked the veal the chances of it being perfectly cooked were slim. Trevor had the lotte or monkfish tail with rice, which he said was OK, he gave me a taste and it was tasty enough but I thought it was overcooked and I have to say that I wasn’t that impressed.
I’m on a bit of a crusade at the moment, I find that vin de table is generally as good as most of the cheaper wines on restaurant wine lists and is normally about half the price, so I’m tending to go for the vin de table, especially at lunchtimes. Today was no exception and the vin de table at 5.50 euros was reasonable and fairly good value for money. The chocolate mousse arrived and it was the best thing about the whole meal. It was copious, it was delicious, it wasn’t as light and bubbly as most good mousses that I’ve eaten, but it definitely hit the spot and I can confidently say that I enjoyed it as much as any chocolate mousse that I’ve eaten. We finished with our obligatory large coffees, and yes, they did include a chocolate, which for once I wish I hadn’t eaten, because compared to the chocolate mousse it was bland.
This restaurant was bewildering; it worked on some levels and yet was so disappointing on others. The dining room was lovely, but the tables and table settings were cheap and in my opinion let the restaurant down badly, Trevor particularly disliked the distressed look chairs which he thought looked dirty. The service was efficient and friendly, but the quality of the food was patchy to say the least. The meal ended up costing 37.30 euros which wasn’t a bad price but then when compared to some other restaurants that we’ve eaten in is expensive for lunch, which can cost as little as 12 euros per person for a considerably better meal including wine and coffee. I guess that if you’re interested in mining and you want to look around the mining museum at Faymoreau and the miners’ chapel then you could try the restaurant. I hope that you enjoy it more than I did. - Tate
Authors Bio: Tate spends 6 months of the year in the vendee and is passionate about food. He now write exclusively for the www.vendee-guide.co.uk. You may copy this review as long as it remains in its entirety including this bio.
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