Skip to main content

AUBERGE DE MADALE, COLOMBIERES-SUR-ORB: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Just go there. There's nothing that I can say, nothing that I can show you with pictures, that can sufficiently explain why you should go there. Just go. You will understand.

Oh, there are those who will quibble. This plate had too many flavors. That plate was not properly seasoned. Our server wasn't cheerful. Phooey! If you are looking for something to complain about, you will find something to complain about. If you are that sort of person, then don't go. Stay home. Eat a sandwich in front of the television.

Enough of that.

The driveway leading to the Auberge de Madale is just west of Poujol-sur-Orb off the road to Orlagues. Not well marked. Not well paved. Madale closes after lunch on Sunday and doesn't reopen until lunch on Wednesday. Lunch at noon. Dinner at 20h00. One seating for each meal. Reservations only. (Seriously. RESERVATIONS ONLY.) Cash or check, no plastic. Set menu that changes every two weeks. If you don't like surprises, it's posted on the website. You sit down, you eat what's put in front of you, you drink the house wine, and three hours after you began you are presented with the bill. And the bill is 32 euros per person inclusive of wine and coffee and maybe an aperitif and/or a digestif. Each time, every time. I've heard that special dietary restrictions will be honored. Arrangements must be made beforehand.

If this sounds a bit regimented, I suppose that it is. But it works for us. The food is superb in presentation and execution. Each time. Superb. Every time. The wine is quaffable if not remarkable, from a local vigneron so it doesn't double the cost of the meal as is so often the case. Knowing exactly the number of covers reduces waste to the bare minimum, also contributing to the more than reasonable price. And if you take the time to get to know chef/owner Stephane as he visits your table after your meal, you realize that his formula allows him to play with textures and tastes in a way that's designed both to keep his creative juices flowing and to keep you surprised and amazed. (Raspberries and cherry tomatoes really do complement each other when brought to the mouth together. Who knew?)

There's no sense in discussing in detail each dish that's pictured below. The menu will change by the time that you read this. (In fact, vacation begins 17 September and runs for a month.) Quick notes in the captions will suffice. For more info, visit the website of the Auberge de Madale HERE. For more of my restaurant reviews, you can bring up that page on my blog HERE.

Did I mention? Just go.

Simple, tasty starts. Pickled beet and cured ham. Spread the sun dried tomato puree on the crispy chips standing in that rock.

Did I mention that the raspberries and tomatoes...? And straw mushrooms wrapped in cheese and gaspacho...
You can just see the oyster leaf covering the green curry at the top.
The fishiest fish dish that I have ever eaten. Perfectly cooked cod. The crabs for the sauce died nobly.
The lemon cream was divine. Had you heard of those little hand grenades of citrus called lemon caviar?






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days. Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December. The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the f

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds. Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate. Daunting? You betcha!

AU LAVOIR, COLOMBIERS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

We live in a town that doesn't do very much to encourage growth or tourism. The streets are rough and bumpy, the tinted glass has been broken out of the street light nearest our house since we moved in three years ago, and the fountain in the square was activated this week for the first time since we arrived. Oddly enough, many of us like it that way. Quarante is a quiet little village, not on a main road to anywhere, but with a fine baker, two excellent butchers, and a bar that serves edible if not exciting food. We could use an ATM (cash point, money wall...) and a gas (petrol) station but otherwise, most of us are happy that Quarante is a backwater. Colombiers, on the other hand, seems determined to do everything possible to turn itself into a crowded, overdeveloped, cash hungry example of all that folks like us are looking to avoid when we move to the rural south of France. Ugly apartment blocks? Check. Newly constructed condos with a 'view', meaning you can see a tin