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La Glycine Restaurant Review by Tate

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La Glycine - Hotel Fontarabie

I have passed this restaurant many times while driving through Fontenay-le-Comte, and have always thought how calm and shady the courtyard full of tables looked and how nice it would be to eat there, so it was with anticipation that Trevor and I arrived for dinner. We had made a bit of a mistake, thinking that the September evening might turn a little cool, we had booked a table inside, in fact all of the courtyard dining area is fully covered and was busy whereas there were only two other people in the dining room. The dining room is to say the least very contemporary with the walls painted lime green and an accent wall which was an abstract in various shades of cerise, it is without doubt not for the faint hearted. I was surprised to find that the restaurant is a Le Relais and is a part of the Hotel Fontarabie, as from the exterior it did not look typical of the Le Relais style. We arrived, were shown to our seats and were left with the menus without being asked if we wanted an aperitif, as it happens we had had one at my house before we left so when we were eventually asked we declined and instead I ordered a 50cl pitcher of red wine for me and tonic water for Trevor. We had also previewed the menus online before leaving for the restaurant, there were three menus
15.50, 22.50 and 25.50 and we had a fairly good idea of what we were going to order. Helpfully the menu has a loose English translation under every entry. I chose Carpaccio of Beef followed by Chicken in Tarragon Sauce, finishing with a Cold Raspberry Crumble. Trevor had opted for Grapefruit with Sautéed Prawns and bacon, followed by Fresh Cod with Sweet Pepper and an Orange Sauce, finishing with a caramelised fruit kebab with a pineapple sorbet.

Having taken a long time to take our order, the drinks arrived post haste and the entrees followed thereafter at a pace. The Carpaccio of beef had flaked Parmesan on it which definitely lifted the flavour, the beef was a little stringy but was nonetheless tasty and although Carpaccio always looks more than it is, there was certainly enough of it. Trevor’s prawns were served with grapefruit and bacon which I confess seemed an odd mixture of flavours to me but surprisingly Trevor said that it was a good blend although he did comment that the prawns were a little bit short on the ground. No sooner were we finished, and with almost disgusting haste, our main courses arrived, Trevor was very disappointed with the cod, the menu had stated fresh cod which has its own unique taste, however he said that the cod he was served was tasteless and if it hadn’t stated on the menu that it was fresh, he would have sworn that it was frozen. The cod was served with carrots and broccoli, which he said were fresh and tasty, but there were no potatoes, rice or pasta, which left him feeling disappointed and unsatisfied, and he could find no sign of the purported orange in the sauce. My meal was if anything poorly conceived and was even less well cooked. The chicken on the bone was served on a bed of tagliatelle accompanied by half a beef tomato with an herb crust. For me the tagliatelle was overcooked. I like all of my pasta “Al Dente”, which literally translated means to the tooth, and is commonly used, particularly in Italy, to describe the pasta being firm but not hard. Worse unfortunately was the chicken, it was seriously overcooked and was dry and stringy, and if there was a tarragon sauce I never found any hint of it. The tomato topping was also tasteless and although one couldn’t describe the food as bad as it was edible, one couldn’t describe it as good either. Desert arrived and mine was excellent the mixture of the raspberries and the crumble and the cream and the crème anglaise was a great combination of flavours and textures and although I was sceptical about cold crumble I must confess that it worked wonderfully well. Trevor’s dessert was a kebab of fresh fruits including Kiwi, Mango, Peach, Pear and Apple all of which were caramelised and served with a pineapple sorbet, he was delighted with it.

Trevor paid the bill which he said was
40 and we were out of the restaurant and on our way home in record time, which was indicative that it was not one of the more memorable gastronomic evenings that we have enjoyed. It is true that we didn’t have an aperitif, we had previewed the menus online and so didn’t take long to make our choice and as Trevor is avoiding caffeine at the moment we didn’t finish with our customary coffees all of which obviously reduced the dining time, but I couldn’t help feeling that we were on a conveyor belt and that the restaurant’s mission statement, if it had had one, would have been something along the lines of “throughput is king”. It is also true to say that had we had our usual aperitifs and coffees we would probably have added a further 10 to the cost of the meal. It is difficult to come to a balanced conclusion to this review. The restaurant has a lovely courtyard but in an attempt to make the dining room contemporary they have only succeeded in making it garish and jarring with little or no ambience. The cold food seemed to be well prepared and tasty but the hot food was poorly cooked and lacked flavour. I felt that the ambience was more cafe than restaurant with the female waitresses wearing lime green tabards, and the rapid service further enforcing this. I have said this before but feel that it is particularly pertinent in this case, dining out should be a total experience that is not just about the food, it should be about the whole dining experience. This restaurant is in an ideal position, and with its sheltered courtyard it could and should offer an absolutely enchanting dining experience. Unfortunately this was not the case and as a total experience it was considerably below par in my opinion. Some friends of ours who declined the invitation to join us for the meal said that they used the restaurant as a place to go on a Sunday or Monday night when many restaurants in the area are closed. I think that that is probably a fair assessment of this restaurant. Tate - 2010

About the author: Tate spends the summers in the Vendee and is passionate about good wine and good food,he writes exclusively for the
The coping of this article is permitted as long as the complete article along with these credits are published.

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La Glycine restaurant indoor dining room
La Glycine restaurant outdoor dining
Tate at La Glycine restaurant