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Restaurants Marais Breton
Restaurants Sud Vendee
Restaurants Coastal Region
Restaurants Haut Bocage
Restaurants Bas Bocage
Restaurants Marais Poitevin
Restaurants Mervent Forest
Restaurants Fontenay-le-Comte
Restaurants Plaine
Restaurants St.Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
Restaurants St.Hermine
Restaurants La Chataigneraie
Restaurants l'Aiguillon-sur-Mer
Restaurants La Faute-sur-Mer
Restaurants La Tranche-sur-Mer
Restaurants Les Sables-d'Olonne
Restaurants Lucon
Restaurants Bretignolles
Restaurants L'Ile-de-Noirmoutier
Restaurants Les Herbiers
Restaurants Pouzauges
Restaurants St.Jean-de-Monts
Restaurants Challans
It was lunchtime on a Tuesday in the middle of April, we had just dropped my friend Ron off at Rennes airport and were making our way back home. We, being Trevor and I, take every opportunity when travelling in the north of the Vendée to try new restaurants. Last year at the same time we had eaten a fine meal at La Digue in Montaigu which is associated with Le Presbytere and where they had encouraged us to try Le Presbytere, so here we were ready to give it a go. The staff were extremely helpful and they had to open the terrace, which this early in the year was boarded up, in order that I could get my mobility scooter into the building. Entering the picturesque main dining room would have been a very tricky manoeuvre there were spaces and the staff were prepared to move other diners to accommodate our entry but we opted for the secondary dining room which was much easier to get into and we were soon seated at a table of our choice being the only diners seated.

The main dining room looked excellent and the secondary room was very good too, both were light and airy and the decoration was very French, with clean and stylish table settings which matched the decor. There were various menus starting at
13 rising to 24 with a children’s menu at 8 and we both decided to go for the 15 menu offering three courses with a decent choice. Trevor had a non alcoholic beer and rather than having a traditional aperitif I decided to have wine. As they didn’t have a house wine I ordered a half bottle of Graves at 10, I could have ordered it by the glass but Trevor likes a taste and three glasses would certainly be enough for a lunchtime. Trevor had ordered Rilettes de Maquereau followed by Daube de Canard, I had gone for Salade de Gesiers followed by Onglet de Bœuf. The entrées arrived and Trevor gave me a taste of his rilettes, they were mackerel, cooked slowly until tender enough to be shredded with a fork, then mixed with mustard and crème fraiche into a creamy consistency and served in quenelles they were absolutely delicious not too strong but with the distinctive mackerel flavour. The dish was served with roasted red peppers, roasted courgettes, tomatoes, a dressed green salad and several scallops, there was no doubt that Trevor was delighted and on tasting the mackerel I could see why. Both Trevor and I love gizzard salad, which is often to be found on Vendéen menus, this gizzard salad was a triumph, the gizzards were large and cooked to perfection, retaining a very red colour and loads of flavour. Unlike most gizzard salads the gizzards were served in a separate little pot with a drop of olive oil, rather than being mixed in with the salad and other ingredients. The beautifully dressed green salad was accompanied by tomatoes, and rather than the normal lardons it had two large slices of wafer thin cured ham. The final flourish was two slices of goat’s cheese on toast and the juxtapositions of taste and texture were superb. The goat’s cheese provided a salty counterpoint to the smooth taste of the ham and the slightly gamey taste of the gizzards. I fail to see how this could have been any better, for my palette it was excellence on a plate.

The wine was going down well and I was pleased that I had chosen it, at €10 for a half bottle it wasn’t cheap but it was 2008 and Château bottled and like most wine was getting better with every glass I drank. Had the Buzet come in half bottles I might have been tempted to go for that as I like Buzet and in general it has been great value for money when compared to Bordeaux wines that are its near neighbours. I have however noticed over the past couple of years that the price of Buzet is creeping up so perhaps the days of value for money Buzets, like so many other things, are over. Our main courses were served and my Onglet de Bœuf, which is a cut of steak which has gained in popularity on menus over the last couple of years, as it is a tender and less expensive alternative to entrecôte or fillet. The onglet was absolute perfection, it was tender, perfectly cooked and there was plenty of it. It was served with a béarnaise sauce, and a mixture of sautéed lardons, mushrooms, cocktail onions and small balls of carrot. There was a garnish of salad and a bowl of chips that Trevor and I shared. I know that you might think it hard to enthuse over what was essentially steak and chips, but the béarnaise sauce with its hint of tarragon was creamy and unctuous and lifted the dish above the normal steak and chips. The little mixture of sautéed lardons and vegetables was a perfect accompaniment and even though the chips probably weren’t homemade they were double cooked and delicious and I loved it. Trevor’s duck stew was also delicious, a whole leg of duck cooked in a sauce with the same selection of sautéed vegetables and lardons as myself and the shared bowl of chips. The duck was a little bit stringy in places but then it was leg, but it was moist succulent and very tasty, I would have happily eaten it.

Even though we had arrived a little late and were subsequently the last people in the dining room, we never felt rushed in any way. Our desserts arrived Trevor had unsurprisingly chosen tiramisu which arrived with a large strawberry, a boule of coffee ice cream with chocolate chips inside, Chantilly cream, crème anglaise and a piping of chocolate sauce, it was copious, appetizingly well presented and Trevor said that the balance of flavours worked perfectly for him, I had a taste and thought that it was absolutely excellent. Unsurprisingly I had chosen chocolate fondant, it’s a bit of a mission for me to find the perfect chocolate fondant, although I think in truth it’s more an excuse to indulge my love of all things chocolate. Chocolate fondants in the Vendée come in two different styles, the normal individual cake with the oozing liquid centre, or as in this case the more traditionally Vendéen version which is as a dense flat cake which is served in sections like any normal cake. I prefer the individual version light and spongy with the oozing centre but this fondant was very good, it was intensely chocolaty, very rich and had a wonderful texture. It was served with coconut ice cream, a large strawberry, Chantilly cream, crème anglaise and a piping of chocolate sauce and the mix of flavours and textures were for me simply divine. Chocolate, coconut, strawberries, cream and custard, who could ask for anything more? We finished the meal with coffee, which I think rounds a meal off but is invariably expensive. The actual meal at €15 a head was not expensive for what we ate, it was as usual the extras which inflated the cost with the total bill coming to €46.50. The service was friendly and efficient, the presentation of both the restaurant and the food was good, the quantities were copious and the quality of the food was outstanding. I was very impressed with the restaurant and for what we had I thought it was good value for money. The north of the Vendée is my favourite part of the region both for its scenery and its cuisine, we have had more good quality value for money meals in the north than anywhere else in the Vendée. You could find many restaurants in the area that would be less expensive but you would be hard pressed to find any that would offer you a better meal for the money. I would highly recommend this restaurant. Tate - 2012

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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