La Cuisine

We were charmed by this quaint little restaurant which has only a handful of tables, a chic but laid back décor, and a very noisy and friendly moustached chef. We both started with a glass of the house red, which was smooth and full without too much tannin. The staff were knowledgeable and pleasant, and happily recommended some menu items. Once we’d ordered, we eagerly waited for our food; the pleasurable setting and welcoming service having raised our expectations. Our entrees were just as good as we’d hoped. The scallop soup with cream and lemon was zesty and rich and the scallops were perfectly cooked. The goats’ cheese salad had a large serving of goats’ cheese, much larger than the usual sprinkles we have come to expect elsewhere. Unfortunately, the main courses were much less successful. An interesting touch was the addition of spinach fettuccine in a small side pot that was offered with both meals. The recommended coq au vin was tender and the sauce rich, but the meat didn’t fall off the bone. Similarly, the lamb stew in red wine sauce, while certainly not overcooked, didn’t melt in the mouth as we’d expected. Both dishes were a little standard, rather than being exceptional. Still optimistic, we moved on to dessert. One of us continued to be disappointed: The apple tart was burnt around the edges and a little raw in the middle. The crème brulee, on the other hand, was exquisite. Cooked in an extremely shallow and wide dish, there was lots of yummy toasted glaze. Our decaffeinated coffee order yielded a strange result: We expected a regular looking cup, but instead received an espresso in a tall glass accompanied by cold milk. Throughout our meal the waiters were helpful and chatty but not intrusive, and each dish came out at a nice pace. The staff were particularly helpful to one of us who was obviously incapacitated, pulling the table out when we needed to get in and out, and holding open the door. Although we weren’t overly impressed with the main courses, the cosy homely ambience and the great entrees made us agree we’d definitely give this restaurant another chance.