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Le Saint Georges Restaurant
St. Juire-Champgillon. Tel.02 51 27 86 91

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..
It was a time of celebration, last week I had celebrated a significant birthday and this week I was celebrating the sale of my house in England, which had been on the market for three years. So yet again Trevor and I were pushing the boat out. This time it was my treat and we had decided to try the Restaurant Le Saint Georges in St. Juire Champgillon. We arrived at the restaurant and Trevor dropped me off and I entered the restaurant through the rear door while he went to David’s house to deliver some home grown vegetables. David is one of Trevor’s oldest friends, he has a house virtually opposite the restaurant and was joining us for the meal. Meanwhile I had entered the upper tier of the restaurant, which was more cafe style than fancy restaurant decked out as it was in a very vibrant orange, but on going down the stairs into the main restaurant area I was immediately struck by the light and contemporary feel that the owners had given to what had almost certainly started life as an old barn. The walls were plastered, painted white and festooned with modern impressionist paintings. There was a feature wall of the old stone and strategically placed furniture that would have long ago been destined for the bonfire had it not been saved and given a lime wash and a new lease of life. The floor was tiled in grey slate, the chairs were ironwork out of the blacksmith’s forge with comfortable padded seats and the tables were decorated with cream tablecloths and serviettes. All in all the mixture of old and new was a rustic chic which was pleasing on the eye and gave the restaurant an open airy feel.

On entering the restaurant proper I was greeted with a profound silence, I called out but to no avail, had the crown jewels been there I could have walked off with them and no one would have been the wiser but instead I found a table that had an envelope addressed to Trevor and I so I sat down and opened it and read the note within. Disappointingly the note was from David saying that due to illness he would be unable to join us. Soon after Trevor joined me and we were spotted, given the menus and ordered an aperitif, I had a Kir Royal and Trevor had tonic water. Now it is at this stage that I have a confession to make, I had forgotten to bring my voice recorder upon which I normally make little aides memoire and so I was faced with using the back of David’s note and the envelope both of which were cream to write notes on, the second problem was that the only writing implement we could rustle up between us was a yellow crayon, so if my recollection of the evening is at all wayward I can only apologise. David had recommended the menu, which I think was called “collection d’été 2010” and as he is very good friends with the chef/proprietor it seemed crazy not to follow his recommendation, so we ordered and waited for the food. First the Mise en Bouche arrived, one plate with a dish of tapenade and a delightfully crispy biscuit, while served on an oblong slate were three different offerings a melon jelly, a petit pain topped with a vegetable puree and a salmon mousse served in a spoon apparently touched by the hand of Uri Geller. They were all delicious and did exactly what they were supposed to. I liken Mise en Bouche to the diner’s equivalent of an athlete’s warm up toning and honing the taste buds to a high state of anticipation in readiness for the feast to come. Just when we expected our entrees a final small delight arrived, it was a small dish of lobster bisque with finely diced cucumber and a parmesan mousse, and I loved it. The entrees came and they were also fabulous I had foie gras with a verbena and citronella cream and slices of poached pear while Trevor had a a dish of salmon which was simply a work of art. There was salmon, and gravalax on a bed of avocado with a salad of fresh herbs and flowers picked by the restaurateur’s friend Jean Claude, it looked fantastic and Trevor said it tasted fabulous. For an extra
12 I had a house selected glass of wine with each of my courses and with the entree I was served a white wine called Pelerin. I was surprised that it was not sweet as sauternes are often served with foie gras, but though surprised I was not disappointed because I’m not a great sweet wine drinker and it complimented the foi gras perfectly.

There was a leisurely feel to the service, the staff were friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the food and wine that they served and anything that they didn’t know they were only too pleased to find out. Our main courses arrived and they were every bit as good as the entrees, my fillet steak was perfectly cooked, and very tasty. True it wasn’t Parthenais but it was very good. It was served with a tasty clam and parsley sauce and a dish of sautéed potatoes paysanne, which were cubed potatoes mixed with lardons and onions, they were just perfect. I must confess that I forgot to take down the name of the red wine which was served with the main course but it was I remember very good, if not exceptional. Trevor had chicken stuffed with langoustines served on a sauce vierge with artichoke and fennel and said that it was as good as chicken gets. Next came a pre-dessert to re-tune our taste buds to the sweet end of the taste spectrum, which was chocolate on orange crème on a biscuit with a curl of white chocolate on top, it was beautiful but Trevor’s curl was broken and mine came with the plastic support still attached, it didn’t detract from the taste but I do think that if you serve something fancy you should have at least a fifty per cent success rate in its presentation. For dessert I had a chocolate shortbread tartlet covered with liquid chocolate, chocolate shards and an orange granité. It was heaven and it was served with a Chinon Blanc, which was not too sweet and went superbly with the chocolate. Trevor’s dessert was a brandy snap biscuit tower filled with a strawberry cream shot through with small wild strawberries, served in a strawberry coulis, it looked fabulous and Trevor said it tasted every bit as good as it looked. We finished the meal with two large coffees at
2.10 each which I thought were unusually great value for money, they are often twice that price. Trevor was ready to mark the restaurant down as there was no chocolate with the coffee, but he had to recant when along came a Madeleine, a small coconut cake and a cannele. The whole evening had been a delight. At 90 for the two of us it wasn’t the cheapest meal that we had ever eaten, but the food, the presentation, and the service were of a very high standard and the ambience of the evening was such that for a special night out this restaurant would rank high on my list of recommendations. - 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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Tate at the St.Georges Restaurant.
St Georges Restaurant, St.Juire-Champgillon
Diners at Le St.Georges Restaurant
Vendee Restaurants, St.Georges restaurant at St.Juire-Champgillon.
The main dining room at St.Georges
Foie Gras starter.
the Saumon starter
Le fillet steak
le Poulet Noir
The Chocolate desert
The Strawberry tower