Saint Remy de Provence restaurant review
Maison Drouot, Saint Remy de Provence restaurant
150 Route de Maillane 13210
Saint Remy de Provence
04 90 15 47 42
It’s midday. You are in the middle of Saint Remy de Provence and you are hot, tired and hungry. The sun is beating down, making a considered choice of restaurant impossible to make. The cafes all have large shady terraces, and they are all nearly full. Tarry too long, prevaricate over which plate du jour titillates your taste buds the most, and it’ll be a sandwich from the boulangerie rather than a long leisurely lunch. And so like the rest of the tourists you hastily grab a table and endure a substandard experience, which repeats garlicly on you for the rest of the afternoon.
Now, turn back the clock. Instead of grabbing the last table in the central cafe, you take the road out of town, past the piscine municipal. You cross the roundabout, head towards the car park of Intermarche, then turn right onto the shaded terrace of Maison Druout, the new venture of Claire and Julien Druout, the couple formely responsible for Au fil de temps in Pernes Les Fontaines. The only thing that repeats on you all afternoon are fond memories and a desire to return to the restaurant as soon as possible.
The food at Maison Druout is sensational. On the day of my visit the 26 euro menu began with a carpaccio of diced rock fish, wrapped in a slither of crunchy apple, served with grilled avocado, guacamole and a parmesan crumble. The plate looked beautiful. Texturally the contrast was pleasing with the crunchy apple and the crumble setting off the soft give of the flesh of the fish, the guacamole and avocado. Each forkful was a combination of tastes, sharp apple, salt fish, the hint of chargrill on the avocado, and a touch of bitterness from the Parmesan crumble. This type of cooking is inventive and meticulously thought through, and only achievable by a chef and a kitchen that really know their stuff.
To follow I enjoyed grilled cod, served with a parmesan froth and a shellfish risotto. The fillet of fish was a decent size with a griddled skin, and soft unctuous flesh inside. The shellfish risotto tasted like the sea on a fork. Other than a few decorative moules there were no shells to battle with, instead they’d been used to infuse the rice with flavour, before being removed. As I ate, I occasionally stared down at my plate, and shook my head at my own good fortune. I’d been desperate and could have easily have ended up in the ready meal section of Intermarche.
Instead I was in heaven. Even my wine glass had a celestial glow. I’d ordered a deep buttery white from nearby Chateau D’Estoublon. Each sip, and mouthful of food increased my good humour. I’d finally cracked Saint Remy de Provence, the town of over 100 restaurants, where eating well at a decent price has always been such a challenge.
Dessert was excellent. Billed as pineapple soup, what I was actually served was tiny chunks of pineapple which had been diced with precision and layered on the bottom of a bowl, before being topped with a scoop of pannacotta and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. On top was balanced a thin, crispy, sweet, biscuit. I ate the lot in moments then sat back, looked at my diary and wondered when I could come back and enjoy the fuller, more intricate, a la carte menu. The bill arrived I took two twenty euro notes out of my wallet which easily paid for my sensational lunch, and my glass of wine, leaving room for a generous tip.
Claire and Julien you are the culinary salvation of Saint Remy, and I salute you.
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