I went out to lunch the other day, to a lovely restaurant not far from here called the Old Porch.
I've been there just once before, a couple of months ago, when a friend and his wife rang me to invite me to join them.
We were welcomed into a lovely dining room of an old hotel with about 20 tables set out. Only 2 or 3 tables were occupied though, when we arrived at about 12.15.
Once we were all seated, our waitress arrived with a basket of lovely bread and a carafe of red wine and I realised that wine must be included in the price.....which the menu quickly confirmed...
As we discussed the menu a few more people drifted in and the room began to take on a convivial atmosphere with the buzz of people enjoying themselves.
The first course was a vegetable soup. Home made from fresh vegetables and thickened by pureeing the vegetables and adding creme fraiche. It was delicious and the large tureen that was left on the table for us to help ourselves from meant that those with a mind to, could have a second bowlful.....The assorted breads in the basket went wonderfully well when dipped into the soup and four very clean bowls went back to the kitchen at the end of that course.
Next we were served with a platter of crudités and some cold meats, 2 or three different hams. The traditional French crudités were freshly prepared and included grated carrot, grated celeriac, cherry tomatoes, grated beetroot and just a little sweetcorn with each vegetable prepared in an appropriate, light dressing. The wealth of tastes was amazing and we all sat and happily chatted and munched our way through it. During this course I looked around the restaurant and realised that every table was now full and, in fact, the waitresses were just adding an extra table to accommodate two more people waiting. Again the various breads were nice to eat with the different dressings and the basket needed refilling before we had even got to the main course......
For that course we had been able to choose from a selection of dishes and around the table we selected the whole range. I had cous-cous and others had confit de canard, roast chicken or steak. Now I know some of my readers will be astounded that I didn't choose the canard (duck) as it was offered...but I'm only really writing this to show that I do occasionally eat something else!!!!!
Confit de canard is a speciality of the Perigord region and is also one of my favourite dishes. Duck is preserved in it's own fat and then gently warmed until all the duck fat has dripped away and you are left with the most tender and tasty duck imaginable..like I said, I do love confit de canard....
The cous-cous came as two separate dishes, a bowlful of just cous-cous, beautifully cooked, loose and light and a separate bowl of a broth containing chicken and pork and a some large chunks of vegetables. I didn't finish all the grains but no vegetables or meat went back to the kitchen!!
Next there was a choice of cheese or dessert and I chose cheese....Another marvelous dish with four great regional cheeses served with just a few walnuts. Walnuts grow around here, I have three trees in my own garden, and they are used a lot as a simple accompaniment.... I'm told the creme brulee was also delicious.
Coffee wasn't included in the set meal price so we paid the extra and enjoyed a cup of rich, thick, dark, espresso to finish off the meal.
We were also the last table to finish... after eating a truly memorable meal which had cost us just €11.50 ($14.50)($AU22.35) with an extra €1.00 for the coffee.
Thank you to the Vieux Porche for making a Wednesday lunchtime so very enjoyable.
I'm on vacation and may not be able to post for a few days...depending on whether I find Internet access or not....