We started with a refreshing glass of delicately red fruited Pétillant Rosé from Rémi Cosson (4.50€ a glass), while considering the menu. CRM went for the 36€ menu with a choice from the carte of entrée, fish or meat and dessert. I chose the 22€ menu attracted by the oeufs pochés sauce vin rouge.
Our mise en bouche was a delicious crème de celeri with a smoked scallop and a crispy stick of bacon. Then, while I enjoyed my oeufs pochés, CRM had the duo of home cured smoked salmon and smoked eel with the salmon being particularly flavoursome.
The wine list has a good selection of Loire featuring producers like François Chidaine, Château de Coulaine, Frédéric Mabileau, Yannick Amirault and Olga Raffault. We chose the 2005 Les Cent Boisseles (28€) from Pierre Jacques Druet, which is drinking well now with its soft black fruits with hints of smokiness with good freshness in the finish. This 2005 is not at all cloying a few rather overblown 2005s can be. The label is memorable as the vintage has just been roughly stamped onto it as though Pierre Jacques had bought a large batch of labels and date stamps them as required!
Main course for CRM was a generous portion of very good guinea fowl, while I had parmentier de canard (shepherds pie of duck). Again a generous portion with plenty of soft, rich duck meat.
For dessert CRM chose the clementine soufflé, which looked spectacular and all puffed up when it arrived. It tasted as good as it looked, while my tarte tatin was OK but was the least impressive of my three dishes.
Some very good coffee and it was time for the bill – almost exactly 100€.
This was easily the best and most enjoyable meal we have had at the Agnès Sorel, which also has three rooms at 50€, 59€ and 62€ a night. I'm sure we will go back fairly soon.
6 Place Agnès Sorel