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La Morliere. Sigournais. A review by Tate
It is the end of September 2008 and I’m only a couple of weeks away from returning to England for the winter. Trevor and I have returned to a restaurant that we visited on a wet lunchtime last year, with my brother, his wife and a couple of friends and which on that occasion got universal approval from our party.
La Morliere, at Sarl du Lac, Sigournais, sits majestically on the banks of the Rocherau lake complex. Its large terrace has a wonderful view down through the lakes as does the panoramic lower dining room, which is a later addition to this beautiful old converted barn. Today unfortunately the terrace was out of the question and we were relegated to eating inside, but I can imagine that on a sunny day dining “al fresco” here would be a very pleasant experience indeed. The barn itself is well converted, although we couldn’t work out if the distressed wood was in fact wood at all or some other amalgam. One enters the restaurant through the bar and down a set of three steps into the panoramic dining area, which offers the same unbroken view down through the lake complex as one would get from the terrace. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and our waitress even tried a little bit of English, not that we needed it with Trevor’s unerring command of French.
There is a menu of the day which is 15.50 euros for a starter, main course and dessert, or 11.50 for two of the three. The choices of starters and desserts were reasonable with a choice of a meat dish or a fish dish for the main course, there were then several other menus of varying prices going up to 36 euros. As I am soon to return to England there was something of the spirit of an end of term party with elements of boat and pushing out. I started with a Riccard and Trevor had an alcohol free beer, the lower priced menus were jettisoned in favour of the 19.50 euro menu, which offered three courses with better choice including any fish or meat dish from the a la carte menu. Unfortunately there was no house wine, one could buy a limited choice of wines by the glass, but I didn’t fancy any of them and as Trevor no longer drinks alcohol, I ended up with a half bottle of Cote de Rhône, which although 8.20 euros turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to my choice of meal. We both went for a Salade des Gésiers Chaude, or hot gizzard salad which was complemented by a slice of foie gras de canard and toasted bread, we both agreed that is was pretty good, very tasty with plenty of gizzards. For our main courses we made different choices, Trevor went for the fillet of Emperor Fish and I went for Kangaroo. I resisted the urge to indulge myself in the myriad of Skippy jokes; however I couldn’t resist asking the waitress if it had been raised on site, it brought a smile whether of genuine mirth or politeness I couldn’t tell. What wasn’t funny was the way that the marsupial had been cooked. I remember that I’d had a fillet steak here last year and it had been cooked to perfection, and the Kangaroo was no different, it was rare, it was succulent and just a little sweeter than beef, I can only say that some chefs “know their onions” but this one definitely knows how to cook meat. It was served with a very tasty sauce sautéed potatoes, carrots and cabbage in a little bit of cream sauce which had a hint of cheese about it; all in all I was delighted. Trevor’s Emperor Fish was a white fish, which he thought was nice but was if anything just a touch overcooked.As he said unless white fish is absolutely fresh, and that is improbable this far from the coast, it is unlikely to be spectacular, probably the reason he prefers darker fish under these circumstances. The fish was served with very finely chopped mixed vegetables and Gratin Dauphinois potatoes, and Trevor’s verdict was that it was pretty good though not quite excellent.
For dessert Trevor went for the apricot and chocolate cake, while I yet again went in search of what I would call a real chocolate fondant. Trevor’s dessert was served with crème anglaise and an apricot coulis, and was in his words scrummy, which I think is Bristolian for superb. My fondant was a slice of very soft and moist cake with an intense chocolate flavour served with crème anglaise which I enjoyed very much. Was it what I would call a chocolate fondant, well no it wasn’t, but what the heck it seems almost churlish to mention it. We finished with large coffees served to Trevor’s delight with a chocolate, which after the intense chocolate flavour of my dessert I might as well have given to Trevor. The overall bill was 58.70 euros which considering everything we’d had wasn’t over the top, especially considering the quality of the food, which I thought was exceptional. The surroundings and ambience were terrific and an outside table in warmer weather would only improve that. I would therefore highly recommend this restaurant. - Tate
About the author: Tate spends the summers in the Vendee and is passionate about good wine and good food,he writes exclusively for the www.vendee-guide.co.uk
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