Aux Choeurs de Bacchus
11 Place Aristide Briand, 16700 Ruffec, France
+33 9 65 30 39 27 ()
This restaurant/wine bar is run by a sommelier and his wife and the emphasis is very much on the fine wines on offer. It has a pavement terrace but not on the showery night that we went. The interior is reminiscent of a traditional French café “Hallo Hallo ” style and was refreshingly busy and lively – too often in this region we have found ourselves dining alone in the evenings whispering to one another in places without atmosphere.
There are 2 menus on offer at 19 or 28 euros but it is all very flexible and you can mix the 2 menus and have less than the 4 courses on offer. There is also the option of ordering either of the menus with the wine selections of the host which gives you 3 glasses of wine – one for each of the first three courses – for an additional 12 euros. This is well worth doing as the wines were of the highest quality, the bottles on each occasion being brought to the table by the sommelier and an explanation given of the region from which they came and the grapes used, all done with great good humour.
My starter was the suggestion of the day and consisted of roasted red peppers wrapped round brandade de morue with a green salad. The sharpness of the salad dressing was a perfect accompaniment to the smoky smooth flavour of the stuffed peppers, as was the robustly flavoured white Cote du Rhone which went with it. Alan had the house made foie gras, which was excellent, with a mildly sweet white blended wine.
I then had a hake lasagne- light and well flavoured – served with a few delicious mouthfuls of lentils in a lightly curried citrus mix. This came with a crisp dry white. Alan had duck leg with an excellent honeyed glaze with potato dauphinoise .
We followed with a good but not exceptional cheese plate accompanied by a wholly exceptional rich fine Cahors and finished with a dark bitter chocolate fondant which was excellent and a good strong cup of coffee.
The whole experience was greatly enhanced by the hosting skills of the sommelier and his wife who were effortlessly charming and present throughout and created a wonderful atmosphere. Everyone left with a smile on their face!
The total cost was 75 euros which is fairly expensive by local standards but seemed reasonable for a first class meal, exceptional wines and a great night out.
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