A lovely market-day lunch

Monpazier is a charming bastide* town about 45 minutes from Daglan, and it’s well worth a visit. For one thing, it’s rated “one of the most beautiful villages in France.” For another, if you go on a Thursday, you could enjoy a double treat.

Treat No. 1 is that Thursday is market day in Monpazier, and the central square is always filled with stalls — with vendors offering everything from vegetables to jewellery. (Okay, in the summer, it’s also filled with tourists.)

Treat No. 2 is that you could try the special lunch (served only on Thursdays) at Restaurant Eléonore in the Hôtel Edward 1, a charming hotel named for the English king who founded Monpazier in 1284.

And lunching at the Eléonore is exactly what my wife Jan and I did this past Thursday, with our good friend Joanne.

This Thursday lunch concept seems to be a new idea, and I think it’s a good one — although when we visited, we sat at one of just two occupied  tables. Previously, the restaurant was open only for dinner, and it seems like word about the once-a-week lunch hasn’t spread very far yet.  In any case, the restaurant seems well respected, since it’s ranked No. 1 in Monpazier on TripAdvisor.

Here’s a look at the exterior of the restaurant, which is located in a wing of a hotel:

The restaurant’s attractive sign.

To reach the restaurant, you walk through the hotel’s main entrance. Then take a left turn, where you’ll find a comfortable bar for a pre-meal drink, and then proceed down the hall to the restaurant entrance. Here’s the front of the hotel:

The hotel’s main entrance.

We began our three-course meal with a kir, and then were offered a pleasant amuse-bouche — a light smoked salmon spread served with thin toasts. Then came our asparagus entrée, which I described quite fully in my last posting. Here’s another look at it:

That tempting asparagus entrée.

The Thursday lunch menu is set, but all three of us were quite happy with the plat principal on offer — a perfectly cooked chop of young pork, served with fresh peas (a highly under-rated vegetable, I think) and a circle of polenta dusted with black truffle. Here’s my plate:

Perfectly cooked pork.

Dessert for Joanne and me was the one set out on the lunch menu — a moelleux au chocolat noir (chocolate cake with a molten dark chocolate centre), served with chocolate truffles and chocolate ice cream. Voilà:

Chocolate — and then some!

One sign of a really good restaurant is its ability to meet special needs. When making our reservation, we let the restaurant know that Madame Chudy has an allergy to gluten — and sure enough, she was served particularly delicious gluten-free buns with her meal.

And because she couldn’t have the chocolate cake, for dessert Jan asked for strawberries with chantilly (whipped cream). Instead of simply tossing the strawberries in a bowl, chef chopped up quite a number of them, and placed them in the centre of a plate, and then surrounded the plate with a row of vertical strawberries. Have a look:

A special strawberry creation.

Worth a return trip? Yes, and in fact we’ve already made the reservation, for a Thursday lunch with Toronto friends Keith and Kathy.

By the way, the price for such a lovely meal? Three courses for 24.50 euros. Deal!

*What’s a bastide town, you ask? It’s a medieval walled town or village, in which the streets were laid out in a grid pattern. As mentioned earlier, Monpazier was founded in 1284 by King Edward 1.

This entry was posted in Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France, Restaurants in the Dordogne, Tourist attractions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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