Going via Calais? Make time for La Cour de Remi

I couldn’t resist posting a review about a place where we stayed in France last weekend because it was absolutely sensational and the food the best we’ve eaten in a long time.  La Cour de Remi appears on the Sawday’s website as a hotel but it’s really more a restaurant with rooms – fabulous rooms and unbelievably good food.

We were there en famille so we chose one of the larger rooms and asked for extra beds for our young children. On entering our room, we walked into a spacious sitting room where the children’s beds had been made up. Stairs led up to the main bedroom, which had a vast, round bath in one corner (the children pretended it was a swimming pool) and, above that, a mezzanine floor with the rest of the bathroom.  It was the perfect room, even for a family of four, and had all the creature comforts you’d expect from a high quality hotel…but done in such a low key and tasteful way.  The space felt very cosy despite bare red brick walls and wooden floors. And the piece de resistance? A whopping great well in the corner of the downstairs room, covered with a thick slab of glass and illuminated with down-lighters.  We were all mesmerised by it from the second we entered the room. With the bedroom lights turned off when we came back from dinner in the dark, the effect was even more spectacular.

Now for the best bit. The food here is superlative. It is the kind of cooking I absolutely adore – the most beautiful ingredients with impeccable provenance served in a completely unpretentious way. The menu was characterised by simple combinations of delicious, local, seasonal ingredients. One of the first courses at dinner was simply ‘jambon de truie au beurre avec sel de Ch. Decobert’ – thin slices of cured ham served on a wooden board with homemade bread and a small block of the creamiest, most delicious homemade butter from a neighbouring farm. I chose the scallops, which were skewered on a piece of thyme and cooked to perfection, served with some spinach leaves, lardons and chives. For my main course, I chose guinea fowl cooked in a pot.  The crispy-skinned meat was as mouth-watering as the rich cooking juices that accompanied it.

To finish, I chose cheese. I always do this with a sense of apprehension because cheese is my downfall – I find I’m normally only half way through the evening’s calorie intake when the cheese arrives because I love it and I always eat too much. I tend to go round the cheese board in circles thinking ‘I’ll just have a tiny bit of this one…oh, and just a tiny bit more of that one’ until it’s all gone and I chastise myself for my gluttony. I was therefore delighted to be presented with just one delectable-tasting, medium soft cheese – again from a local producer. It deserved it’s position as the only cheese on the plate and it had that aged, creamy flavour and texture that tells you the cheese maker seriously knows what he’s doing. (I must admit that I also heartily encouraged my children to choose their own puddings knowing I’d be forced to help them finish them).

Our dinner was a treat from beginning to end. Even our children sensed they were being given something very special and behaved accordingly. I found myself basking in the approving glances of fellow diners as we single-handedly annihilated the theory that only French children don’t throw food.

The following morning, breakfast comprised sweet, freshly squeezed orange juice, beautiful buttery brioche just out of the oven and homemade strawberry and apricot jams. Thin slices of delicious ham and slithers of a lovely, nutty, locally-made hard cheese were savoury delights.

All in all, it was a wonderful night’s stay.  We left feeling utterly satiated and knowing we would definitely see the place again.

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