So, after wandering around the market and grazing on all the lovely things that there were to eat - including Audrey and Mum
being conned giving in and buying gingerbread/glühwein/"your real English mince pies" from their friend Heinz who is part of the Souillac Rotary ... "real English"?? My arse - I saw the Lidl bags matey!! We were off to Hotel des Tilleuls for lunch. What a find guys. Next time you're in Souillac give it a try - it's on the Sarlat road, just after the garden centre.
The 19€ menu was delicious and worth every
penny cent ... the menu du jour 12€ wasn't available on Sunday, but I imagine it would be worth a weekday lunchtime visit to give it a go. So our starters - Simon had pressé de lentilles aux aiguillettes de canard - this was almost like a terrine of lentils ~ lovely earthy texture/flavour ~ with bits of duck wing and carrot in it. Served with a balsamic vinaigrette and salad. Delicious - would have had that instead of mine if I'd had any idea how good it was going to be.
I instead ordered the salade de morue et calamares - which was delicious BUT had enough lettuce to sink a battleship! However this was coated in delicious vinaigrette that had tomato vinegar in it. And in all fairness other bits of loveliness hidden thoughout it - potatoes, red onion, beetroot, egg ... yum! The cod and calamari were good too - but not as good as those bloody lentils!
My mother - who is the food coward of the bunch went with the pâté de foie gras ... too much pâté and not enough foie for my liking and nothing fruity to set it off - no figs or pear chutney or or or anything BUT she was happy and seeing as she was eating it tant pis!
For my main course I ordered the pavé de boeuf. I am always heartened to see the look of surprise on a prissy French waiter's face when he reels off the cooking options for steak to les Anglais* finishing off with a distasteful look on his face as the much hated "bien cuit" trips off his tongue. He looks around waiting for us all to chorus "bien cuit" and my mum and I smack him in the chops with "bleu svp." "Bleu?" he says in surprise. "Oui, merci!" Even Simon manages a respectable saignant these days.
The beef was cooked to perfection, pink and oozing and served with pommes boulangères and échalote confite - yum! Sweet sticky shallots, gratined tomatoes, lovely oven baked buttery potatoes, yum! But then why go and stick a blinking jacket potato on the side? And ... and I know I am going to get shot down in flames here ... it's not even as if the French do JPs well - SORRY - but it's true! They do pommes boulangères really well, matchstick potatoes - yum, pommes dauphinoise - gorgeous BUT not JPs.
I mean look at it - wrapped in tinfoil**, can't see the potato because there's so much cream in it, teaspoon stabbed in it's centre - bleugh!
So, I swapped my JP with Brian (who had ordered perche au vin rouge) and instead got a cabbage parcel that was stuffed with delicious creamy cheesy risotto ... the French do stuffed cabbage REALLY well. Stick to the cabbage guys. His perch looked interesting - I always imagine them as a "muddy" fish - shows what I know ... maybe next time!
And then finally it was time for dessert! I'm not normally a big dessert**** eater - I'd rather have cheese and if the choice is starter+main or main+dessert I'll go for the savoury option everytime BUT I do like an iles flottantes - that magic mixture of light fluffy meringue, vanilla custard and dark caramel. And the Hotel des Tilleuls does iles flottantes - LOOK!
**NEWSFLASH - I'd stopped counting the points by this time - NEWSFLASH** Yep, you're not imagining it, that's Simon hiding behind the iles flottantes. That dish was brought to the table for you to serve yourself! And we did - only one plateful mind you ... which shocked everyone BUT we were so full ... having wiped the previous plates clean that there was no room for any more. The chocolate mousse that they make is served in the same sort of dish. There's a rumour doing the rounds that if you finish the dish then you're meal is free ... there's another rumour doing the rounds that if I had I'd have burst! Mum lot very pleased with her nougat glacé and Brian with his crème brûlée but they weren't much to look at compared with my bucket of iles flottantes! We walked part of the way home. I didn't eat until Monday!! * Yeh, I know I'm une Galloise but generally, unless you have the rugby** conversation most (not all, most ... it's improving) French people don't distinguish between the inhabitants of the component bits of the UK - we tend all to be English to them.
** This rugby conversation that we've been having since August 1981. "Oui je suis Galloise. J'étais né en Pays de Galles." "Pays de Galles? C'est où le Pays de Galles?" "Vous connaissez le Pays de Galles, c'est une région de la Grande-Bretagne. Ils jouent au rugby en Pays de Galles." "Ah oui, le Meelenium Stadeeeum! Pays de Galles, ah oui, JPR, Gareth Tomos! Oui, je connais le Pays de Galles!" Yep they still bring up JPR eventhough he hasn't played international rugby since 1981.
*** How are you going to get good skin if you cook the potato wrapped in foil? You know what I mean by good skin right? Tough enough to fight back with you.
**** I might have mentioned before that my mother thinks that this is WRONG on so many levels and has been known to throw around the rumour that I am in fact not her daughter - harsh!