Monday, 9 July 2012

The Potless Budget Restaurant Review #4: Brasserie le Foy, Langres, Champagne-Ardenne Region, France

Being Potless isn't all about cooking at home - it's about having a fabulous value-for-money eating experience, wherever you are.

So, I present to you my series entitled: 'The Potless Budget Restaurant Reviews'!

Having trawled the globe looking for the best of the cheapest eating out establishments, I can now share my findings. 

'Cheap' is, of course, subjective. But what makes a restaurant qualify for this list is a sense of extremely good value. A greasy spoon cafe might be cheap (and delicious too, come to that) but it won't make it onto the list, unless the eating experience it provides is of the very highest quality in proportion to the price it charges.

Mrs Ribeye and I have just arrived back from our summer hols to France, and boy-oh-boy, do I have a lot to report! Not only do I have plenty of restaurant reviews to post over the coming weeks from various wonderful locations and eateries on our travels to and from the south of France, but I also have a couple of delicious recipes (which I cooked in the kitchen of our beautiful rented flat in Nice on the sunny Cote d'Azur), which I cannot wait to share with you.

Today's review comes from our stop-off in the Champagne-Ardenne region, after a lovely first night in Troyes (the capital of the Champagne region itself - simply gorgeous. You MUST visit it), and on our way eastwards to Kaysersberg in Alsace, near the German border.

Langres is one of those lovely little finds which seem to be dotted all over France, but which are sadly few and far between in England - a small, pretty, medieval walled town, with a nice little central square and one of every business (pharmacy, shoe shop, hairdresser etc) radiating out to some winding little residential streets before taking you to the gap in the town's battlemented wall, onto the main road, and connecting you to the nearest autoroute. The 12th century cathedral at the very top of the town is spectacular.

Brasserie Le Foy
7 Place Diderot

Tel: 03 25 87 09 86


It was Sunday lunchtime - a notoriously difficult time to find anything much open on France's favourite day and time of the week. I had some experience of the French love of the Sabbath day-off, so was surprised and delighted to find this charming little brasserie not only open, but fairly busy with the local townsfolk in their Sunday best, drinking pitchers of chilled pink wine outside on the front terrace.

Mrs Ribeye and I spotted a vacant two-seater table and darted for it, with a quick glance at the waitress to see whether she had any objections. She obviously didn't, because menus and a basket of good fresh bread were on its way over within a flash, together with a question of 'boisson?' to be swiftly answered with 'I'll be having what they're having' in my pidgin French. The pichet de vin rose arrived and was quickly ingested before we gave the menu a run-down, and we decided to stay away from the suggested heavy Sunday-fare plat du jour of a hearty beef stew. It's a warm day in the last weekend of June, for God's sake!


As with most brasseries and restaurants in France, a number of  prix fixe (or 'formule') menus are offered, which encourage you to eat  a number of courses for a fixed price - normally reasonably priced depending on how many courses you have chosen - but which are pretty heavy-going and massively calorific. On a later occasion, at a Relais Routier (review to follow Click on the link!), we did actually pig-out, but on this occasion, sanity prevailed and we ordered lightly. A peasant-y salad with chicken livers for me, a croque monsieur for her and a plate of frites to share.

Now, I had no pre-planned desire before we got to this place to review it - we hadn't ordered anything particularly awe-inspiring or even noteworthy. The restaurant was the usual small-town gaff with some irritatingly loud, pastis-drinking, old local farts annoying the long-suffering but convivial barmaid inside the dark recesses of the restaurant; but our meal was so surprisingly delicious and satisfying that as an afterthought I whipped-out the camera to take a picture of the front of the place (no chance of taking a picture of the food, because we had scoffed it), after we had eaten our meal, and resolved to report back my findings, more as reminder to myself to use Langres as a regular pitstop in future, rather than as a review of part of any culinary excursion that I had intended to take.

Firstly, the portions were enormous. The salad and frites would have quite happily done for the both of us, without the additional (although no less welcome) toasted sandwich that was plonked in front of Mrs Ribeye. There must have been at least a pound of freshly pan-fried livers scattered over my satellite dish-sized plate. The plate of chips (supposedly for one) was enough for four. In fairness, the sandwich looked, at first glance, of normal proportions, until I noticed the height of it. It must have been smothered in a vat of rich bechamel sauce and gruyere, before being browned under a hot grill.

Secondly, the flavours were incredible. I'm not sure if the livers were marinated in milk first, because they were creamy, not at all bitter, and seemed to have a sort of sticky glaze on the outsides. The salad dressing was a creamy homemade vinaigrette, and the salad vegetables were plentiful and fresh. The sandwich was a huge delicious messy delight of ham, cheese, sauce and toast. The frites were at least twice, if not thrice-cooked. A crispy golden plate of heaven.

Desserts/cheese were offered and politely declined.

The couple at the table next to us had ordered the daube de boeuf dish-of-the-day and were labouring under its sheer volume and richness, while me and the missus hobbled off to our waiting car, and onto the rolling Alsacian hills. We were full up, but not as full up as them.


24 Euros was the bill for the both of us. That's about a tenner a head, including wine. Tip included.


Do I need to add more? I loved it at Langres, not just for lunch, but also for the nice walk afterwards around the circumference of the town, into the cool interior of the cathedral and off to search for the car in the rabbit warren of the quiet residential streets. If Langres was in the UK, it would be famous, because we wouldn't stop banging on about it. But it's France, which means that it's just another fabulous little-known friendly place, filled with locals secretly delighted that unless a tourist stumbles upon it, they have the place pretty much to themselves. Next stop, Kaysersberg. 

1 comment:

  1. Brastley restaurant looks really well disguised. The menu of this restaurant is very good and it is testy is well. All the items are available at the cheap price.

    Miller Haus B and B


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