Friday, 15 February 2013

A break in the grey

All the grey, gloomy and mostly rainy weather we've been having has given rise to the odd dose of mild cabin fever; so recently we decided to pop out to lunch on a day we weren't working.

Mairé: village square with auberge across the street
It proved to be an excellent antidote. We went to the Auberge du Vieux Port in Mairé, a small village on the Vienne side of the Creuse river. We can't remember who first mentioned it --I suspect we read about it in a blogpost-- apologies that we can't remember whose. The auberge sits on the corner of the rue du vieux port, so at one time there must have been a riverside landing for trade on the Creuse.

It is one of those typical French places; it combines a tabac, cafe, restaurant and hotel all rolled into one. The proverbial little white vans [well they were green that day] were parked outside which means 99% of the time there's a bon rapport qualité/prix [simple but good food and value for money].
Appearances can be deceptive--it looked as if it could have been closed, but most certainly wasn't!
The auberge is clearly a family affair which has been serving the community more or less unchanged for years. Maman was serving and the daughter was cooking in the kitchen. The daughter came out afterwards and we settled the bill with her at the bar. The menu du jour was €10.50.

Now as regular readers will know we're hopeless at photographing food in eateries. For some reason neither of us have ever felt comfortable doing so--no particular reason, we just don't. However, we can tell you what we had:

Mairé: rue du vieux port
starter part I: a slice of charcuterie with a shallot & parsely vinaigrette
starter part II: a very soft boiled egg sat on top of an artichoke heart and slice of ham topped by home-made mayonaise. This was without doubt the star of the show!
main course: pork chop with sauteed potatoes [there was also a fish option which we didn't go for]
cheese
dessert: a slice of apple crumble cake

we both decided to have a coffee afterwards.
Mairé: church, sadly locked
It was nothing fancy, just plain and simple, but home-cooked and tasty--exactly the right thing to brighten up yet one of those grey days.

Afterwards we tried to have a look inside the church but sadly it was locked.

18 comments:

the fly in the web said...

What a delight not to be faced with the buffet from packs bought in the supermarket...that's an address worth keeping.

Vera said...

Just the sort of meal I would go for - simple but tasty. We have a routier run by a family just round the corner to us, and their meals are also the same. Don't go there often, but it is handy for when things are a bit dire in the kitchen!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
This all sounds to have been most goodly. We really like these relatively simple restaurants where one can eat well at an affordable price. And they keep going because they represent such good value for money.

Craig said...

Having a simple, set price lunch out was one of our favourite past times when we lived in France and your post brought back happy memories.
The only thing missing was enough warm sun to allow you to sit out on the terrace, and perhaps a carafe of rosé!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@fly - it has indeed gone on "the list"

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - the routiers are always a good bet. Definitely no frills but the food is always reliable. If it wasn't all the truckers/vans would soon go elsewhere.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Jane & Lance - the weekday set price lunch, especially off the tourist trail, an excellent institution.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Craig - it was a pichet of rouge :-) We forgot to mention that, but no sun alas!

Perpetua said...

What a great way to break the weather monotony. :-) There's a very similar all-in-one establishment a few miles from our French house which gives the same wonderful value and good, simple, home-cooked food. Places to treasure.

Fraussie Grouet said...

Ah, this is what my (French) husband calls a "restaurant ouvrier" which means that it is a sort of canteen for the local blue-collar workers. Always good value-for-money. We even found one in Barcelona, would you believe,where the waitress came around with a soup tureen. We always keep a look out for them when we're cycling and can absorb the extra "workers" calories!

Jean said...

It might have been Jim and Pauline's blog - they are regulars there I think and often praise it. We haven't ventured inside yet but hope to do so this year....so many restaurants, so little time....!!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Peretua - exactly. They're the French version of the village pub :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fraussie - Exactly. Workers from the Conseil General were in [hence the green vans, not white]. In fact I was the only woman having lunch.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - if it was Jim & Pauline's blog then we heartily second their recommendation :-). What a problem to have! ;-)

GaynorB said...

Jean's correct. I read about it in J&P's blog and wrote it down in my little black book. We haven't managed to get there yet.

We still haven't got the French habit of eating a warm meal at lunch time. Perhaps we need a bit (read lot) more time in France!!

For some reason your blog posts have stopped coming automatically on to my dashboard causing me to nearly miss this post. I'll check it out.

Tim said...

Perhaps this is another place to go for a "munthly"....

What's all this about the grues?

My sidebar is showing that you posted about seeing grues when you were out and about with the roof down yesterday...
it showed it around 8pm [last night] and is now showing it as posted thirteen hours ago...
but when I click on it it doesn't exist!!
Is it the same problem as Gaynor's been having??
Blogger!!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - if we go out for one of these lunches we tend to eat little or nothing for dinner! We prefer it however, to eating out in the evening.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - definitely one for the 'monthly' list.