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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

France 2010 - Day 11, Part 2 - Brittany: Vannes

"Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined." - Samuel Goldwyn

***

France 2010
Day 11 - 12th October - Brittany: Vannes
(Part 2)

The next stop was Vannes, for lunch.

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Town Hall with happy students

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Statue of Arthur de Richemont, Duke of Britanny at Town Hall

A lot of places offered free parking from 12-2 (i.e. lunchtime) so we profited from that.

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Rue Emile Burgault

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Church barred to public

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Rue Emile Burgault again

Menu of the place (Restaurant de Roscanvec - this was beyond Routard and in the Michelin Guide):

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There was a "musée d'histoire et d'archéologie" which was supposed to house one of the world's finest collections of prehistoric artefacts. It was open by appointment, but for groups only, and my calling them didn't help, unfortunately.

We decided to trust the chef and go with the menu dégustation, at 60€.

The waitress asked us what we didn't eat. I wonder what they'd have done if we'd said we were vegetarian - or worse, vegan!

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Breton apéritif and accompaniment. This was a half sized apéritif as we were cheap.
The accompaniment is oyster leaf (tasting of oysters) and olive paste.

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Crème de champignon (Cream of Mushrooms). The top was tepid and the bottom chilled. It was rich, creamy and delectable.
The waitress saw me writing and asked if I wanted the menu at the end. However, this liquid was not on the menu!

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Beurre Cru à la Baratte Bois Moulé à la Main ("Vintage Butter churned by hand in a wooden churn")
Even their butter is atas

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Foie Gras de Canard. En bavarois, fraîcheur du melon, réduction d'un vin rouge
("Foie Gras of Duck. Bavarian style, with melon layer and reduction of red wine")
The foie gras was very subtle and almost in a moose. Usually I don't like it, but this was nice.

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Bœuf et anchois. Taillés au couteau, sorbet curry thaï, quelques feuilles insolites.
("Beef and anchovies. Knife-cut, with Thai curry sorbet and exotic leaves")
This was essentially beef tartare, with fish and lemongrass. The flavours exploded in the mouth.

After each course we were asked 'Est-ce qu'il vous a plu ?' ("Did it please you?") and with each course we were wished 'Bonne continuation' ("Carry on"). They did this at the previous place too.

At this point I realised I had to pay for parking, so I left the restaurant. I was told the chef was very pissed off (there was a window through which he could look at the diners) so I asked the waitress to apologise on my behalf.

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Alley

One chef was on the phone while cooking but I was too slow to take a picture.

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Turbot. En croûte de pain d'épices, bouillon mousseux infusé au Sakura
("Turbot. With a crust of spiced breadcrumbs, frothy broth infused with Sakura")
There were also very finely shaved mushrooms. It was a very large portion for dégustation, so the price wasn't high considering that!

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Pintade fermière. Cuite à basse température, premiers cèpes & jus d'une rôtie
("Guinea Hen. Cooked at a low temperature, the first boletus [mushrooms] and bread sauce")

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Bleu d'Auvergne. En milkshake, granité sangria
("Bleu d'Auvergne cheese, in the form of a milkshake, topped with sangria granita")
This was a bit salty, but then it was a cheese course and not a dessert

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Dessert 1

The menu says the last item is "Chocolat noir & pralin, Biscuit imbibé au ron Havana, milkshake coco" but neither this nor the next item looks like that. Perhaps they'd ran out, and compensated with 2 desserts (at the time my thought was that when you had a more elaborate menu you had both a pre-dessert and a dessert, and that I preferred the pre-dessert)

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Dessert 2

While the desserts weren't bad, they'd been better at the previous place (Croid d'Or in Avranches, Normandy - which the Rough Guide had indicated as one of the highlights of that half of Normandy). The dishes here were better though. So for the second time this trip I gave my "c'était le meilleur repas que j'ai eu" line ("It was the best meal I've had").

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The menu

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Restaurant de Roscanvec; visit this place if you're ever in Vannes:


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We then visited the Cathedral of Vannes.

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Portal

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Portal detail

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Nave

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Tomb

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The finger of Pierre Rouge was supposed to be here but I couldn't see the reliquary

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Breizh Cola. Au cœur des jeux (At the heart of the games)

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Cute dogs

There was a "Eau de Vie" ("Water of Life"). This was a very strong alcohol.
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