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Relais des Archers  by Tate

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Le Relais Des Arches - Tiffauges

We were in the Haute Bocage, we had spent a not inconsiderable time looking around the beautiful Vallée de Poupet and had decided that we would save eating at the Auberge there for another day, and go on to the Auberge at Rochard further along the banks of the Sèvre Nantaise. We arrived at Rochard, a picturesque little place with a bridge over the river only to find that the Auberge was closed, after all it was the end of April. We searched high and low for somewhere that was open to no avail and desperate for somewhere to eat we ended up in Tiffauges, at Le Relais des Arches, it was getting late and Trevor was looking ominously hungry. They were only serving the Formula meal, which on the one hand was a shame because Trevor quite fancied the 19 Euro menu but on the other hand was good for our ongoing drive to provide good value for money for our readers.
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The entree was an hors d’oeuvres table with a reasonable enough choice including an unusual endive and melon salad, a tuna pasta salad, various slices of sausage, pate, an unusual three coloured fish mousse and prawns, all of which were tasty and well presented, it wasn’t the best hors d’oeuvres table we’d ever tried but it certainly wasn’t the worst. Next a choice of main courses Vendéen Ham or Steak, we both went for the steak which was served simply with a small pate of garlic butter melting on top and frites, I have to say that my steak was tender, full of flavour and perfectly cooked, I couldn’t have wished for better. Trevor’s steak was a little bit bigger, but also a little bit tougher. We both declined the cheese and moved to the desert which Trevor described as an apple crumble tart, it was unusual in every way, firstly the base was short crust pastry, which is rare in France, then there were apples without the almost inevitable crème anglais all with a crumble topping. It was criss-crossed with honey and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The short crust pastry was light and delicious, the apples were tart against the sweetness of the crumble, honey and ice cream, the flavours were well balanced and all worked well together. We drank water although wine was included as was the large cup of coffee. The dining room was pleasant enough and was festooned with swords and shields, being only a short distance from the renowned castle that was home to the notorious Bluebeard. There was a room overlooking the lake in which we could have sat but we were just happy to get a meal. The service was efficient and the staff were friendly, the male waiter even spoke reasonable English. It was a good experience for 9.50 euros per head, and though I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again it was nonetheless a decent enough meal and was good value for money. - Tate 2010
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