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Le Pappagallo Review by Tate
16,rue des Loges, Fontenay le Comte.
Tel.02 51 69 22 28
Le Pappagallo Restaurant Pizzeria-Grill is to be found in the old part of Fontenay-le-Comte. We were greeted by a man who came running down the road waving his arms and shouting at us. At first I thought what a welcome, but it soon became clear that this wasn’t a greeting and that the man wasn’t amused. The reason for the shouting was that the road was pedestrians only but that didn’t deter Trevor he was shouting back as he drove the car right up to the front of the restaurant. After dropping me off he reversed the car back down the road and went off to find a parking space, I went inside of the restaurant only to find that the shouting man was there, he was in fact the chef, he didn’t speak to me and I didn’t respond.
The restaurant itself is in the Rue des Loges in the heart of the oldest part of the town in a building which has been very sympathetically restored. I can imagine that it would have a fantastic atmosphere on a summer evening with all of the tables full and the restaurant buzzing, unfortunately it would have to remain a figment of my imagination as there were only two other diners during the lunchtime when we were there. I had a Riccard for an aperitif and as there was no alcohol free lager Trevor had a tonic water while we perused the menu. It was an interesting menu, there was a considerable choice and the meal of the day was not expensive, it sounded good and included wine. There were several formula meals at varying prices and a 29 euro menu which looked truly good. It was however our last meal of the season and as they say, when in Rome people eat Pizza, well they don’t actually say that but we both decided as it was a Pizzeria we would have Pizza. I chose a Pizza Toreador which was chorizo and peppers at 10.60 euros and I had mushrooms as a supplementary ingredient, which was, I thought, expensive at 1.50 euros especially as they were in scant evidence when the pizza arrived. Trevor had a Pizza Four Seasons at 8.90 euros which I thought was pretty good value. We had a pitcher of house red wine, well actually Trevor had a taste as ever to give me his much valued opinion, and I in reality drank the rest, at 7.50 euros price wise it was par for the course for a 50cl pitcher.
Pizza was in fact the first thing that I learnt to cook, this side of an egg, and I love it. It is impossible to cook it properly in a home situation as the heat generated by a pizza oven is twice that of a normal domestic cooker. This was a Pizzeria with I assume a proper pizza oven and I was therefore a little disappointed as this in truth was a fairly average pizza. The thin crust base was very well cooked, it was thin and firm, although it didn’t have that slight greasiness that I look for in a pizza base and the topping was for me lacking in quantity. It was nonetheless a pizza and so I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Trevor also seemed suitably impressed with his. There was a good choice of desserts including a wide choice of ice creams. Trevor was quick to choose the Crème Brûlée with orange and lemon and after agonising for some time I followed suit. My original reaction after the first mouthful was frustration it was cold and I was expecting it to be warm, and somehow I wasn’t expecting the strong citrus flavour. After the initial shock I went on to really enjoy it. The juxtapositions of the tart citrus taste with the sweet caramelised sugar and the texture of the fruit with the smoothness of the crème anglaise worked well for me. By the time I’d finished it I was looking around to see if there was any chance I could nick Trevor’s, I had two hopes and one of those was Bob. There is a chance that I will be dissatisfied when I next eat an ordinary Crème Brûlée, it isn’t a great chance though because I absolutely adore Crème Brûlée. We finished off with coffee (chocolates included) and the season was over, with a degree of sadness, snigger snigger, I passed the bill to Trevor, and before you start to sympathise it was his turn. In all honesty this is a very pleasant restaurant, if it were more populous it would be a great place to eat from an atmospheric point of view. The shouting chef and the lady who served us are in all probability husband and wife and the proprietors, she was delightful and made us extremely welcome. The meal cost 46.90 euros but as ever we could have eaten much more cheaply had we partaken in the meal of the day and not had aperitifs or coffee, which are always expensive, but isn’t that always the case. I enjoyed myself but like all small children it doesn’t take much to keep me amused. - Tate 2008
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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