Late on Saturday morning my wife Jan and I had finished some shopping in Sarlat, and had driven back to Cénac, with our hearts set on having a nice lunch at the Thai restaurant there, before driving on home to Daglan. Sorry; Sawadee is closed for lunch on Saturday.
So then I phoned the Basque restaurant in Castelnaud. Sorry; Le Tournepique is closed for lunch on Saturday.
And that’s how we wound up driving back across the Dordogne River and eating at the restaurant Les Prés de Gaillardou, which included making our way through one seriously hearty dish as our main course.
We have eaten at Les Prés de Gaillardou several times in the past, and always came away feeling that it was a good spot– not bad value, reasonable choice on the menu, decent cooking, and a comfortable atmosphere. It’s not a favourite (as you can probably infer from my choice of words) but it seems dependable, and it’s worth a visit.
The restaurant is located on the D-703, about four kilometres from the heart of the riverside village La Roque-Gageac. On Trip Advisor, it’s got an overall rating of “93% recommend,” which includes the “Excellent” and “Very Good” verdicts. (Personally, I’d hold back my “Excellent” rating for places a bit more special.)
In any case, here’s what it looks like from the road:
And here’s a view of the walkway leading up to the front door:
Now to the food. Once Jan and I were comfortably settled with a kir vin blanc each — this time flavoured with raspberry syrup rather than our usual cassis — we decided to choose from the daily special menu.
So Jan started with a plate of sautéed pleurotes, which are essentially oyster mushrooms. They were delicious (yes, I got to try one). My entrée was a plate of pickled herring, served with a warm potato salad, and a few slices of onion and carrot; it’s a fairly common appetizer in traditional French restaurants, and was just fine.
The truly hearty dish was the restaurant’s version of petit salé, a traditional French dish which involves brining pork meat, and later cooking it slowly. It’s often served with lentils, but on Saturday it came with a serving of potatoes in the Sarladaise style — cooked in duck fat, with garlic and parsley. Now don’t faint, but here’s my plate:
The pink meat may not look like the most appetizing treat in the world, but it really is delicious. It’s fatty, a bit salty, amazingly tender, and very tasty.
After chomping through most of the meat, although not all the potatoes, it was decision time: Dessert, or no dessert?
For Jan, the answer was an easy “no.” But since I have that magic second stomach which is ready for dessert at any time, I stuck with my initial order of chocolate mousse. It was full of chocolate flavour, but actually a bit too thick and heavy. Guess what, however? I ate it all.