A good morning’s digging has restored me to a far less jaded state than I’ve been in since yesterday.
The cause of this was yesterday’s visit to this area’s best-kept secret when it comes to restaurants – the ‘Tahiti’ at Renazé.
It’s an unpreposessing place from the outside but it’s surprisingly pleasant and comfortable inside – which is what counts.
Diners can be directed to any of three dining areas, depending on how busy the Tahiti is or how many people are in your party. The big room is my favourite with its display of Mexican sombreros – supposedly fitting in with the South Sea Islands theme in some bizarre way (!) but I’ve never asked.
Yesterday, the five of us in our party were shown to a table in the front dining room near the bar so it was easy to see the customers arriving. Most were people taking their works lunch break and the mass of white vans outside attested to this. It filled up rapidly and – as you often read in guide books – the sign of a good restaurant is one that is very busy and full of locals. This is certainly the case all year round at the Tahiti.
The lunch time menu is a mere €10.70 per person, with 4 courses – buffet of hors d’oeuvres, main, cheese and dessert, with as much local cider, red or rosé wine as you like.
Fantastic value, bearing in mind the totally home-cooked and generous nature of the food and the drinks are included.
The service is excellent too – polite, prompt and friendly – which can make a good meal into a very good one, which the Tahiti does time after time.
The first buffet course meant that you could help yourself to terrine, various cooked meats, hard boiled eggs, diced beetroot, rice salad, pasta salad and green salad. If you’re not careful, you can spoil the rest of the meal if you go too mad…
The main course yesterday – it changes radically from day to day – offered several choices:
- roast pork
- turkey milanese
- black pudding
- beef tongue
- tête de veau (a sort of brawn using meat from the head of a veal calf)
This was the most ‘French’ menu I’d seen at the Tahiti, and as I usually avoid eating bits of animals that I’d normally see on an abbatoir floor, I opted for the pork – as did two more in our party, the remaining two having the hake. To accompany the meat or fish, you had a choice of creole rice, pasta, green beans or chips.
The chips at the Tahiti are one of the best things about the menu – hand-cut and then fried in some sort of fat as opposed to oil – they taste like real chips should and are a far cry from the anaemic frozen French fries that you often get.
The pork – two thick slices – was tender and subtly seasoned and, with my chips, made a simple but very satisfying main course.
I then followed with cheese – Camembert, Port Salut and Emmenthal – and some bread. I was too full to manage dessert, but I could have had ice cream, fresh fruit or a choice of whipped desserts; creamy or fruity.
Throughout the meal, I washed the food down with cider – a medium one made some 15 km north of where we were eating – and then rosé, a Loire one which was very smooth indeed.
I was very glad that Mrs Shark had agreed to drive us home…
I’m sure that some of the main courses I balked at were very good. It’s a slight problem I have, in that I was brought up in a home where my mother disliked the cheaper cuts of meat, even though I now realise that she didn’t have that much money to spend sometimes. Consequently, I dislike meat with bones in, and although I’ll quite happily eat liver and kidney, I avoid anything that might be brains, bollocks or other bits of an animal like that.
Good surroundings, great service, unlimited cider or wine, copious amounts of good, fresh, home-style food and all for €10.70 a head. They don’t rush you, either, so the five of us spent a very pleasant couple of hours indeed.
I wholeheartedly recommend it – and don’t forget to leave a tip; the waitresses are worth it.
As for the digging, a couple of hours with the fork brought on a good sweat in the autumn sunshine and finally got yesterday’s lunch digested – as well as another vegetable patch ready for planting.
Filed under: alcohol, Ex-pat Life, Food, France, Friends, Local (Mayenne) news, Stuff which makes me happy, Win! Tagged: | bargain, cheese, chips, great value, hake, home-style cooking, pork, Renazé, restaurant, Tahiti, wine