We’re fortunate where we live in the Charente to have some fantastic French restaurants pretty much on our doorstep. And during the more miserable winter months, we’ve taken to exploring what the local cuisine has to offer on a Sunday.
Sunday is one of those days in rural France when nothing happens, especially in the winter. The shops are shut so it’s the perfect excuse to go out for lunch.
We discovered the wonderful Auberge Le Saint Jean in the village of Nanteuil on a recent Sunday lunch out. Along with a lovely little place for coffee and cake called Lolly’s Tea Room.
Sunday lunch in Tusson
Today’s review is set in Tusson, another one of those hidden gems nestled away in the heart of the Charente. It’s full of history with a surprising amount going on.
Marguerite d’Angouleme, who became Queen of Navarre when she married King Henry II of Navarre, had a house in Tusson. It’s now been turned into a museum showcasing local heritage.
I’d driven through Tusson a few times and had been told about Le Compostelle, so was looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about.
When we went for lunch it was a freezing cold Sunday in February. The wind was bitingly cold, so we were looking forward to getting into the warmth of the restaurant.
Did Le Compostelle live up to its reputation?
It certainly did. Set back from the road almost hidden away you walk through a large archway with huge wooden gates. This leads you through an outdoor passageway into the private garden area.
You can imagine in summer it would be a beautiful place to sit outside and enjoy your lunch.
From the minute we stepped inside we were drawn into the beauty of the place. You could tell how much thought had been put into the design.
To your left was the kitchen where you could see a lot of what Chef Laurent was doing, and on the right, a lovely bar area.
It was busy when we arrived and full of French people chatting away, always a good sign if the locals frequent a restaurant.
The menu options at Le Compostelle
It’s a set menu on a Sunday and you have two options The Starters Menu at 45€ or the Tasting Menu at 60€.
We went for the Starters menu, which as you would expect, was all in French.
I’ll admit, we did have to do a bit of googling to understand everything on offer. But we both knew enough to understand the only option for the entrée. It was a ragout of carrot with Foie gras.
Neither hubby nor I are fond of Foie gras, but when in France you try everything.
We were served some amuse-bouche, bite-sized hors d’œuvres, quite a standard added nicety in many French restaurants.
It’s normally included in the price and gives you something to nibble on as you enjoy an apéritif.
I was a little apprehensive about the entrée because I don’t like carrots and or Foie gras, but I was pleasantly surprised. It helped that it was served with fresh crusty French bread but the jus was lovely.
And it was beautifully presented.
The main course was absolutely superb, Boeuf de Race maturée. The beef just melted in your mouth and the gravy was possibly some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.
Of course, in France, before you have your dessert you’d usually have a cheese course. However, this was optional and an additional cost, and to be quite honest neither of us had enough room for cheese and dessert.
So dessert won over the cheese course.
And I’m so glad it did because it was seriously yummy. It was a deconstructed apple crumble served in a glass with a chocolate lid over the top.
Chef Laurent performed a little bit of theatre as he presented it by pouring salted caramel over the top and lighting it.
How did we rate Le Compostelle?
This was an easy ten out of ten. I couldn’t fault a thing. The food was fabulous, the service was excellent, and the ambience was perfect.
Our meal wasn’t cheap and with drinks, we had a lovely bottle of red, it was €149. But it was worth every cent and I’d happily go back again.
It’s probably one for special occasions and I’d like to go on a day when the full menu is available.
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