We listened in awe as Heidi was going along beautifully, speaking in French, on the phone to La Ferme de la Ruchotte, changing our booking because a mate had pulled out at the last minute. Everything was going along smoothly until Heidi said we are now 15 instead of 6. I could hear the panic in the voice of the lady at the restaurant, they only seat 14 after all. Heidi corrected herself and all was good…or so we thought.
La Ferme de la Ruchotte is a certified organic farm where you can stay and you can dine at on weekends. Pretty much everything served is grown and/or raised on the property and the food is superb. We had a great meal last year with warm friendly service, this year we had a great meal with good service from Monsieur but incredibly surly service from Madame.
Now Patick (aged 4), is only a little fella but pretty well behaved. He was kneeling on his chair as we sat down and madam lambasted him for having a portion of his shoe on the chair. The offending portion from the tiny surface area of Patrick’s New Balance sneakers was clean as a whistle and if I were aforementioned chair I’d much rather have it on me than Patrick’s smelly bottom. I do not know why Madame had an abeille in her bonnet but she acted like a real vache throughout the meal.
A starter of ham made from the farm raised Grand Gascon black pig, aged for two years was divine. It had incredibly powerful flavour and nuttiness with amazing fat content. Some large, fresh radish accompanied the fatty pig goodness and they had great crunch, with upfront sweetness and a big peppery hit soon after swallowed. Naturally leavened bread and house butter rounded off the starter plate most amiably.
I think I’ve mentioned it before but it doesn’t matter if asparagus is wild or grown under strict cultivation guidelines, it always makes your wee smell funny and the wild version here did just that. A fresh, perfectly runny egg sat on a creamy soup of asparagus. Upon the egg was some finely chopped, pickled eggplant and four spear of delicious wild asparagus protruded from the broth. The asparagus was delicate in flavour, almost with a nutty flavour and creamy texture. All elements of the soup worked beautifully and it was a dish of great harmony. Our white wine went well with this dish but it was another one of those bloody natural wine things, biodynamic, low sulphur a bit of carbon dioxide spritz and its terroir completely erased. It was the 2010 Catherine and Dominique Derain Saint-Aubin ‘En Remily’ 1er Cru and it had some preserved lemon notes with plenty of sherbet like zip and zing. There was already some oxidative notes (I’m sure there would be apologists out there who would decry that I don’t understand the style) and it had some funky dairy things going on as well.
In between entrée and main Madame told off both Lily and Patrick about feet lightly brushing the chair, a French lady next to us stood up to go to the toilet and her chair tipped over crashing to the ground (she did not get lambasted) and Patrick was colouring in his dinosaur book. Lily told Patrick that the dinosaurs lived many years before Jesus to which Patrick replied ‘maybe the dinosaurs killed Jesus’. Also at one stage I thought I was in a pinball parlour back in the 80’s as the phone rang and it sounded just like a ‘space invaders’ machine.
Main course was a delicious farm raised chicken carved at the table. Not sure if there was more juice coming from the chicken or saliva from my mouth as chef broke apart the bird. It was a little sinewy without a huge amount of flesh but the flavour was sublime. It came with a fine risotto made from the stock of chicken and the meat juices and on top sat a few confit chicken hearts, delicious. Our red wine was excellent with the chook. The 2002 Domaine Dujac Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru is just about in the perfect place right now. There were notes of sweet blueberry coupled with a little musk and beef stock. It was full and silky in the mouth, with sweet fruits tinged with earth. It finished with sappy density and was long and perfumed.
Goats cheese of various age are from the milk of goats on the property and really fine and flavoursome. The dessert of crème brulee was good but mine was not quite set. Coffee was plunger style and really very good, much preferable to poor quality coffee extracted badly through an espresso machine as is par for the course in many French restaurants.
I’m a little perplexed with the service we had today. Last year we had a near perfect meal. This year the food was brilliant but I’m not inclined to return given the poor attitude we copped. I certainly wouldn’t take the children back and they have dined most successfully at dozens of restaurants throughout France and around the world.