5 Rue du Dr.
Rene Laforge, Fontenay le Comte.
Le Vieux Pressoir
Trevor and I are gluttons for
punishment; it’s Monday lunchtime again, the most difficult time to eat out in
France, and here we are looking for a decent meal. In all fairness Trevor is
busy with changeovers at the gîtes on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and I am
unavailable on Tuesday lunchtimes, so we are a little limited. We’ve decided to
give Le Vieux Pressoir another try, the last time we tried to eat there it was
closed, even though it’s advertising said it would be open, and we ended up with
a less than satisfactory alternative.
To its credit the restaurant was open and judging by the car park
it was well patronised. We entered the outer dining area and were met by a very
pleasant young waitress who seated us, immediately took our order for aperitifs
and brought the menus. Shortly afterwards she returned with our drinks and a
plate of toasted bread and both Green and Black Olive Tapenade, it was quite
delicious, and was a very nice and unexpected way to begin. We decided to opt
for the Menu du Jour 3 courses at 15 euros which is a little expensive for a
lunchtime formula, so I was expecting great things. The restaurant used to be
the reception and breakfast area of a motel which had opened and closed before
its time and we were seated in the semi-circular section which had formerly been
the reception area. It was a little exposed with glass all round but was very
light and airy and was interestingly decorated with old farming and wine
producing implements. The tables were set with linen and there were flowers on
every table. The flowers were not real, but were very pretty and definitely
added to the ambience which overall was very good.
On the Menu du Jour there was a selection of two starters, two
main courses and three or four desserts. Trevor went for the seafood cocktail
and the Cod, I went for the Melon with Jambon Vendéen and the Pork, and I
ordered a pitcher of house red wine. I would have been happy with 25cl but
Trevor persuaded me to have the 50cl, and we decided to leave our choice of
desserts until later. The entrees arrived; Trevor’s seafood cocktail was smoked
salmon, a seafood mouse and a large battered prawn on a bed of salad. It had a
fresh pure tomato sauce with it which Trevor said was exceptional, as was the
large prawn in batter, Trevor said that it all tasted as good as it looked, and
it looked very good. My melon and ham was much as you would expect a good slice
of smoked ham with three generous slices of melon. Again it looked good and did
exactly what it said on the tin. It was all extremely fresh and hard to
The main courses arrived and yet again they didn’t disappoint.
Trevor’s cod was, he said, perfectly cooked, it was served with capers on a bed
of steamed rice and Trevor ate it with gusto. My pork was well cooked and was
served with duchesse potatoes, broccoli and an unidentified but delicious sauce.
Again both dishes were totally fresh and hard to fault. We asked our delightful
waitress for a ten minute break to digest the first two courses and for me to
finish the wine, which was not expensive and was perfectly acceptable for a
house red. I always prefer to finish my wine before I eat dessert as I find that
all foods alter the taste of wine, and as cheese can wake up a wine that had
seemed dull and uninteresting, I find that anything sweet adversely alters the
taste of red wine, making it taste dryer and sour.
The proprietor a delightful lady who spoke reasonable English had
begun to take more interest in the proceedings in our part of the restaurant,
assisting the waitress who was busy as more people entered the restaurant.
Earlier I had watched as she assisted the young waitress in dealing with a
problem. Two Frenchmen had ordered a bottle of Chinon red to accompany their
meal and were not happy with it. The waitress changed the bottle and glasses
immediately and served another bottle of the same, which the men again rejected.
I noticed the proprietor taste the second bottle discreetly at the bar, I think
she thought that the wine was OK but she changed the bottle again this time for
a different wine. All of this was accomplished with no fuss and is a mile away
from my experiences with wine in England.
Both Trevor and I chose the same dessert, Crème Vanille which was
similar to a crème caramel without the caramel and with a strong vanilla
flavour. Both Trevor and I agreed that the taste was superb, but it was a bit
colourless and in need of a visual lift, I thought it would also have benefited
by the addition of a small biscuit of some kind to provide a juxtaposition to
the soft texture of the vanilla cream. Coffee was served and to Trevor’s delight
a chocolate covered nut and a bonus of four small fingers of meringue were
served with it.
This is a very good restaurant, the formula meal of three courses
for 15 euros per head is not excessive however when you add wine, an aperitif
and coffee it becomes 25 euros a head, unlike in some other restaurants we have
tried where these things are included. The upside is that it is open on a
Monday; the food is very well presented, is freshly cooked and is of high
quality. The ambience was good and the service was faultless, all in all I’m
sure that you wouldn’t be disappointed eating here and I would certainly be
happy to return and would be pleased to recommend this restaurant. -
author: Tate spends the summers in the Vendee and is passionate about good wine
and good food,he writes exclusively for the http://www.gites-with-pools.co.uk/
coping of this article is permitted as long as the complete article along with
its credits are published