I had phoned the Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant L’Auberge des Tilluels only a few hours earlier and lucky I had as we must have had the last table as it soon became full. We had a choice of several tables as we were the first to arrive. I chose one in the corner so I could see most of the room. Actually, we weren’t the first to arrive I tell a lie, Jane and Freddy from Rainbow (the children’s programme from when I were a lass) and later Rod, Jane & Freddy, were enjoying pre-dinner drinks with friends outside in the garden, celebrating Freddy’s birthday – I have my sources for this information 😉 Geoff thought that Freddy was Jon Anderson from Yes throughout the meal but I quickly recognised Jane, she hasn’t changed one bit and looks fantastic. They then came inside and dined at a table near us.
The canapés appeared almost straight away, before we were given any water/drinks strangely. We each had a small glass full of hot ‘soup’ with a little straw. This was absolutely delicious! I’ve no idea what it was as it all got lost in translation. I would hazard a guess and say it was something like butternut squash or/and sweet potato, but it appeared to have some sort of creamy thick ‘yolk’ at the bottom. It was amazing anyway. With this came some bite-sized pieces of brown and white crostini with a lovely creamy salmon & garlic butter.
We went for the cheaper menu like we did when we dined at Le Prieuré because we liked most of what was on the menu whereas the more expensive ones had a couple of things we knew we would not enjoy. After these canapés we thought that if the evening is anything to go by these canapés then we are in for an amazing meal.
The next dish was truly divine. A mille-feuille pastry with razor thin layers sitting on a bed of celeriac(?) with goats cheese and salmon, this was so fresh and light. It was absolutely perfect.
Next was a hot buttery courgette foam with a ravioli square containing chanterelle mushrooms and topped with a sliver of parmesan cheese.
Rabbit or fish was on the menu as the main dishes. Now anyone who knows me well (or my email address) will know how much I love bunny rabbits. It’s France which has
forced introduced me into eating it because about five years ago whilst on a cycling holiday we stayed at a convent in Bayeux and that was the only dish offered one evening at dinner. It was either that or go to bed starving. Again, if you know me well that’s something I could never do.
The small cuts of cooked saddle of rabbit were wrapped in filo pastry with minute pieces of courgette & red peppers and then cut in half. A scoop of mashed potato, a rich jus and a Peter Rabbit style carrot complete with the green stalks, which made it even more upsetting :'( Although I hate myself admitting it, this dish we could not fault.
Only I had the next dish which came with a supplement. Goat’s cheese. I didn’t realise this at the time, I just heard the word ‘cheese’ and automatically said ‘yes’. Although it was very nice and creamy and sprinkled with herbs and black pepper, goat’s cheese I find, for myself anyway, needs something with it, a bit of pickle – ooh how uncouth of me!
When all the desserts on a menu sound so good what does one do? Thankfully there is a God and an ‘assiette’ was available! Thank the Lord! This ‘famous crispy chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet red pepper’, which is how it translates, was delicious. The base was a crispy chocolate praline with a chocolate ganache and a spoonful of raspberry (and red pepper?) sorbet. Very light, very tasty.
This was a very thin wafer filled with something nice and sweet. The tastes were bananas, berries and passionfruit.
Geoff had the larger of this and we loved it, my favourite in fact. Cooked juicy pear at the bottom, a layer of meringue and topped with peach sorbet.
Here they are altogether, my assiette of desserts.
Coffee was served with a glass full of home-made bite-size biscotti, which I was too full to eat, although I did manage to force at least once down. I was tempted to wrap them up into a serviette to take back to the hotel with me but stopped myself just in time.
Restaurant de L’Auberge des Tilleuls was in our top three restaurants after eating our way through a most enjoyable week away in the South of France recently. I can’t put the three in order of preference as they were all slightly different but all excellent. The other two were Michelin one star restaurant La Prieuré in Villeneuve and family run Au Moulin Gourmand in Cadenet.
Living life, loving France!
P.S – The toilets were enormous and luxurious! You must spend a penny 😉