Two weekends ago we went to Cancale, and I raved about our trip, and it was fantastic, but then life happened and I start writing about more timely stuff, like the Paris Photo Festival, which I really encourage you to go see, which means I got side tracked and didn’t fully finish talking about our trip, which is fine, because, well, do you really care about every little thing we saw and tasted and experienced? I hope not, for your sake! On the other hand, I do like food an awful lot and we had some great meals on this trip that I really want to remember so I can book places for our next trip, so today, I am indulging myself and making a list of my St Malo favorite foods. First, the fish that got away.
On our first trip to St Malo, Mr French gave the a list of three restaurants he’d heard were absolutely stupendous and he told me to pick one and book it. I did, and the meal is still one of the best meals we have ever shared (more on that in 30 seconds). Number 3 on the list no longer exist, but number 2 is Le Chalut, a very traditional looking fish restaurant with a chef who once worked at Ledoyen and the Ritz. Michelin, Pudlowski and Mr French’s locally based colleague all rave about this place, so this weekend Mr French was determined to go. Unfortunately he did not share this ambition with me and he is not exactly the ‘plan in advance’ kind of traveler, so we arrived for lunch 20 minutes after the kitchen had closed. which means we absolutely MUST return to St Malo.
Another reason we have to go back is the dinner we had at St Placide, a truly exceptional address well off the beaten path and outside the city’s ramparts. This is the memorable meal I mentioned above. We didn’t make it there this trip. We ate there 3 years ago and we still remember much of the menu in detail. The sea bass with Tonka beans and the lobster with vanilla and ginger are now our benchmarks for inventive cuisine without too much fuss. And the dessert was full of surprises with pop rocks causing flavorful explosions in our mouths, leaving us giggling like school girls. Seeing a 50-something, French, ex-Rugby man giggle like a school girl, well, Mastercard could use the moment in their ad campaigns.
Not every meal can be an orgy of gastronomy. En fin, not for a size 10 body that will be returning to Paris to be surrounded by size 2 friends. A bit of restraint was in order. A simple meal in Brittany means one of two things; fresh oysters by the sea, or crêpes. Cancale has the oyster beds so crêpes were in order. There may be 200 crêperies intra-murs in St Malo. How does one choose? At 15h in the afternoon, you just go to the first place with an open kitchen, so we fell into An Delenn. Having lived in Montréal for 5 years, I was terribly amused by the Québec flag bunting the owner had chosen for his decor. The menu feature maple syrup, blueberries from Lac St Jean, and I suspect they’re working on adding poutine at some point in the near future. In the meantime, the crêpes were truly artisanal and we watched in amazement as he peeled apples for new orders, beat the eggs, galette by galette and flipped some of the best crêpes we’ve ever had.
On the way home that afternoon, Mr French was driving peacefully along when the woman next to him, arms flinging, screeched insanely, “Beurre Bordier, OH MY GOD, this is where beurre Bordier is from.” I had just seen the Cheese Shop run by perhaps the most famous butter churner in all of France. And it must be love, because instead of turning on me and laying into me for my insanity, Mr French calmly found a parking spot and I got to visit butter mecca. I strolled through the place bouncing on the balls of my feet and clapping my hands with joy, even though I couldn’t buy the butter because it would never have survived the trip to Paris and I can get it at my local cheese shop 6 days a week, anyway. A butter geek. Who knew? Yes, we suspected, but nobody really knew for sure until now.
At Bordier they had a flier for L’Ecole du Goût de St Malo. The cooking school that very well be our next excuse for visiting St Malo and the inspiration for another post like this one!
Le Chalut / 8 r. de la Corne-de-Cerf / 02 99 56 71 58
Le St Placide /6 Place du Poncel / 02 99 81 70 73
An Delenn / 4 rue de la Harpe / 02 99 40 16 53