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La Terrasse By Tate
22, Ave Plage, La Faute-sur-Mer. Tel. 02 51 56 45 94
We had spent the morning looking around on the coast, first we looked at La Dive a small piece of raised land with a few houses on it that had been an island before the Gulf of Picton was drained. Next was LíAiguillon, a trip around the Plan DíEau followed by a cup of coffee and a look at the town. Then we crossed the bridge into La Faute in search of a restaurant.
Trevor and I are still in dispute as to who found La Terrasse, he says he spotted it and that I only wanted to eat there because it was easy access for the scooter, I say that I thought it looked like the kind of place frequented by locals. The blackboard at the entrance showed a formula for 12 euros with plenty of choice and I suppose that it doesnít much matter to you who discovered it, all that matters is how good it was.
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
The coping of this article is permitted as long as the complete article along with these credits are published.
There was a wide terrace with tables under umbrellas on the left and a large marquee with tables more densely arranged on the right. Straight ahead was a bar and it was as I had thought a local hangout. Throughout our meal there were a lot of comings and goings pretty much all of them appeared to be local and these actually included mussel fishermen. The marquee was pretty full so we opted for a table under the umbrellas and a delightful young waitress came to take our order. I was feeling a bit jaded following another evening with friends so I ordered the tomatoes with mozzarella, followed by a pizza, while Trevor had the cold mussels in a vinaigrette followed by red fish (a couple of little ones), even though wine was included I had coke, and Trevor had non alcoholic beer. Outside the bar was a mussel cooker, I didnít quite understand it, normally when cooking mussels one cooks them for a short period, whereas this seemed to have mussels cooking all the time we were there. Trevorís mussels were obviously yesterdayís cooked mussels served cold with a vinaigrette, they were in actual fact delicious although he must have felt cheated when, unlike with moules mariniŤre, at the end he couldnít mop up the juice with his bread, as by its very nature it was far too sharp. My tomatoes with mozzarella was fine the tomatoes were fresh and the mozzarella was buffalo mozzarella and it had a balsamic vinegar dressing, when I think back one couldnít say that it was a taste explosion but it was exactly what I needed, due to my affliction. The same could be said of my pizza, I know eating pizza is a bit passť and that on the coast I should have been surrounding myself with seafood, but I couldnít have managed seafood, feeling as I did, and pizza is a good standby for me under such circumstances. The French seem to serve their pizzas with an egg in the middle, I could honestly do without that but the base was thin and light, the topping was tasty enough and although it was no Italian masterpiece it was sufficient. Trevorís two little red fishes would have had a biblical quality about them had they not come served with chips and a small dish of garlic mayonnaise, they were nonetheless deliciously sweet but as with all small fish they were a touch bony.
To finish and in keeping with my Italian theme I had the boring ice cream whereas Trevor had plum tart, which was truly delightful. Plum tart is a favourite here in the Vendťe as there are a whole lot of plums about, so finding a home made plum tart as good as this one was only remarkable insofar as this was a restaurant in the main tourist street of a coastal tourist resort. The only complaint I heard from anyone in the restaurant was about the length of time that the service had taken, complaining about service being slow is truly unusual for the French, who are normally happy to dawdle over their food. Similarly we were in no hurry and in any event I didnít think that the service was particularly slow given how busy the restaurant was.
I must admit that due to my self administered affliction I didnít do the restaurant justice, I failed to try the house wine which was inclusive, I ate things that I knew would go down easily without challenging myself and I stand duly chastised for it. I definitely missed out, as Trevorís meal was good bordering on exceptional. This is not a restaurant overlooking the sea and it wasnít the finest of haute cuisine, but at 32 euros for a meal for two cooked as well as it was, and in such a highly developed tourist area it was without doubt very good value for money.
By way of an epilogue, some friends of mine came out to stay with me at the end of July. They went to the coast and I have to say despite my perfect directions failed to find at La Terrasse, they ate at another restaurant on the main street of La Faute, husband, wife and two children had one dish each it wasnít particularly good and it cost them over £50. They went back and found La Terrasse on a subsequent visit to the coast and were bowled over both by the quality of the food and the value for money, so on this occasion you donít have to take my word for it.
Tate - 2009
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