Lunch at Le Château Richeux

Lunch at Le Château Richeux

Near the town of Cancale in Brittany, there’s a well-known restaurant called Le Château Richeux. It’s owned by Olivier Roellinger. You may remember the restaurant and the dude from the episode of No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain paid a visit to the restaurant. It’s kinda in the middle of no where, but the food here is pretty amazing. In the U.S. we would label this as farm to table, while in France they just call it food. The restaurant is approved by Relais & Chateaux, which puts their stamp on impressive restaurants in the U.S., such as Jean Georges, Per Se, or Eleven Madison Park. Such luxury might seem out of the price range, but they actually offer some affordable options for lunch.

The amuse bouche were: buckwheat cracker with gray shrimps, which are these tiny little salty things, sardines on a stick, and some anchovy mousse. These were a nice way to start the day as we looked at the menu and showed that the restaurant specializes in seafood. Roellinger is also known for being a big aficionado of exotic spices. He actually owns a few different stores/restaurants, and call them Les Maisons de Bricourt. Just go look at the intro video on that page… daaaayum. Yup. As for the lunch, there’s a Menu Marin (3 courses) for 26 Euros, which would convert to $35 to $40 on recent euro to dollar conversion rates (1->1.35 or 1->1.5). This menu has its limitations, including lack of choice. You get soup or oysters for appetizers, and then entree and dessert are picked out for you. If you want choice, the Menu Choix de la Baie gives you the option of choosing appetizer+entree or entree+dessert for 43 Euros. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll want this menu, but we’ll get to that later. If you want choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert, then the Menu Grand Choix de la Baie for 54 Euros is an option too. Then there’s like tasting menus for 150 Euros, but who the fuck is made out of gold?

After ordering we get some bread, which comes with regular butter and seaweed/algae butter. See, the sea theme continues here. The seaweed/algae actually is super super subtle, to the point where I don’t really taste too much of a difference. Still yet, it’s butter and delicious butter at that.

As I mentioned the Menu Marin for 26 Euros might seem restrictive due to lack of choice, but one need not worry. Why? Because it’s pretty bangin’ for what it is. To start, six ginormous oysters from Cancale, which is a city by the ocean. They get lots of great oysters there, large, sweet, and just fucking awesome. Also like the mussels that I had before, these things were super fresh. When you squeezed lemon on them, they retract, as to escape the acidic bite of the lemon. Ooooh but you naive little mullusks… I’m going to happily eat you. There’s no where to hide, little guys! One thing to note is that they don’t remove the oysters from the shell the way they do in the states, therefore you gotta pry them loose first before slurping.

If you pick the Menu Choix de la Baie, you can get things like cod with vegetables and a broth of some sorts. Steph’s dad had this and it looked amazing. I had a piece of his cod and thought it was cooked well. Steph’s mom had sole that was pan fried in butter, which was also simple and delicious. I only had a small bite of their food so I can’t comment too much. Don’t wanna be eating all their food, you know?

Steph had the slow roasted lamb (agneau de prés salés – “lamb of the salted fields”) that was cooked for seven hours. The lamb is a special kind to Brittany. See, there are areas that were covered by the ocean a long time ago, and now it’s grazing pastures for sheep. Then these sheep eat the grass that grows on this nutrient-rich land, and then we kill those suckers and roast them for seven hours. Boom. What’s great about this dish is that they pull apart the lamb meat after roasting, and then form it into a puck and sear it hard to give it some crunch. This was really really good.

The mackerel was the only option for the Menu Marin, and I was quite happy with it. The fresh tomatoes were roasted, warming and brightening the flavors and tasting of late summer. The fish was grilled and went well with the diced tomatoes on top. This might not have been a sexy dish, but being that it was fresh and wonderfully prepared, I had very little complaints.

Remember how I said you should take the Menu Choix de la baie if you have a sweet tooth? The reason is because of the dessert cart. Oh but not just any dessert cart, my friends. Sometimes you’ll see dessert carts where you pick your one dessert. Not here. At Le Chateau Richeux, you can pick EVERYTHING. There’s things I couldn’t even capture in one frame. There’s cream puff with pistachios, cream puff with ice cream and chocolate sauce, there’s macarons with raspberries, chocolate torte, chocolate and caramel cake, and some pureed strawberries with cream. Oh and marshmallows. YOU COULD HAVE ALL OF IT. Yea… reason enough to at least get the 43 Euro menu and picking entree+dessert instead of entree+appetizer.

From the Menu Marin, you aren’t left in the dust however. You get the mille-feuilles of the day. For me, it was raspberry with a raspberry puree in a shot glass. The little balls of cream were exceptional and blended well with the tart berries. All in all, I think you could walk away really happy with their affordable fixed price menus, and tailor it to your desires whether its for your wallet or sweet tooth.

Then after your meal, and I suggest you go for lunch because then you can walk around the gardens in the back of the chateau. They’ve got apple trees, a bread shack that bakes and sells bread, and donkeys. Yup, TWO donkeys. You could for example, approach the donkeys and say, “Hey donkey, you were in Shrek.” and they would not care. What they would care for, are some of the fallen apples near their stable. We learned two things: One, donkeys love apples. Two, donkeys don’t like to share apples with each other. The grey donkey in the background of this picture ate three out of four apples that we tossed in there. So we had to take an apple, stick it on a branch, and manually feed the black donkey so that he got some apple love too. Even as we tried to make it fair, the grey donkey tried to butt in and steal it. These donkeys yo… greedy. I love it though, donkeys after lunch. It doesn’t get no better than this! France, I love it.

Posted by Danny on September 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

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