I couldn’t really go to France without choosing to dine out somewhere with traditional French cuisine on the menu. After all, so much of our Australian cuisine has been influenced by Europe and in the cheffing world, long standing traditions and kitchen organisation has directly evolved from the French.
‘Gill’, named after it’s owner, is one such restaurant, described in the Lonely Planet guide as “The place to go in Rouen for Gastronomique French cuisine of the highest order”. Clearly this was the place to go …although I overlooked one small factor …Miss 8. What was I thinking? Described as ‘classy’ and ‘ultra-chic’ I didn’t think that hubby and I would have trouble ‘fitting in’, let alone with Miss 8 in tow. We got there early, along with an elderly couple. Fortunately they had a menu in English, and also a kids menu, though it was clear that children didn’t dine here often. Wait staff outnumbered customers about 2-1, even when more guests arrived, it did bring that uncomfortable ‘someone is looming’ feeling to the occasion. The other couple spoke English also, I heard them talking of coming back the next night. With prices like these it was a stretch for us …though I have to say, the food was definitely worth it.
Miss 8 squirmed and complained, fast service wasn’t one of their key points, though it wasn’t really required for their usual clientelle. She ordered ravioli which surprisingly went down very well. For me it was a tougher choice. I’ve found myself constantly challenged on this trip when dining out. This is an experience, a learning experience, and an opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things, explore the world of food. When the meals are expensive it’s hard to justify a ‘gamble’ when it comes to choosing what I want on my plate. Do I play safe and order something I’m almost guaranteed to enjoy? Or do I step over the edge a little and go to territories unknown, possibly paying a fortune for something I don’t want to eat beyond the first bite? Decisions decisions. Oh to be in the shoes of the elderly couple, clearly retired and enjoying a slow-paced trip through France, money is no problem, find the finest dining and enjoy it night after night. The ‘taster menu’ was tempting, but a bit too pricey. With no coming back for me ….decision made …pigeon!!!
Oddly enough, when I think of pigeon, I think of ‘Bert’ from Sesame Street who was such a fan of an otherwise dull-grey and ugly bird. I don’t even think I recall hearing of anyone talk about eating pigeon despite the plethora of cooking shows I’ve watched. Sitting at this table was a bit like Sesame Street – we were hardly a classy bunch.
The gamble paid off. Much like duck, it had a rich flavour and beautiful texture, together with it’s accompaniments was divine. ‘Roasted a la Rouennaise, lacquered and preserved leg, seared duck foie gras and celeri mousseline’ … it sounded impressive and rose to the challenge.
Unfortunately both hubby and I left our phones and cameras back at the hotel room (conveniently a 60 second walk away but too far for either of us to want to go back), their website only has ‘flash’ loops in a gallery, however with some rather tricky IT skills, here’s the dish…
For dessert we opted for a chef’s sampler selection. They weren’t quite as impressive as we thought, though I’m not a coffee fan so that didn’t help and the others were just a bit ordinary. Still, we had a lovely meal all up. ‘Gill’ made an appearance though clearly chose her audience, we weren’t worthy of ‘conversation’ …the French eh?