le tasting room

Loire wine tours, tastings, day trips from Paris & short breaks organised by experienced English wine trade professionals.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Provence Caffé - struggling during 'les travaux'

Many of our friends have recommended we try Provence Caffé in the Place du Ralliement since we arrived but it's one of those places that didn't really appeal. Not helped by the fact that it appears to be part of the neighbouring hotel (wrong)it's located on the corner just across from Galerie Layfayette.
The decor is slightly jaded contemporary (lots of brown with soft orange lights), with crisp linen tablecloths and a great view over the old theatre opposite. We were there at lunchtime and took a table by the window - there was only one other table occupied.
To the food - it was very good indeed. We opted for a menu 'Business' (16€ for two courses) and a menu 'Saveurs'(27€ for 4 courses). Bruschetta with roasted peppers and marinated anchovy served with mixed salad leaves was simple but good, fresh pea soup with tiny steamed clams, beetroot and truffle oil was excellent - perfumed, fresh and interesting. To follow, pan roasted salmon with mediterranean vegetables and pasta (strong flavours but the salmon could take it)and dorade, lightly steamed and served with new season's vegetables (potatoes, asparagus, baby spring onions, baby carrots)with a buerre blanc sauce. We shared a tiny salad of freshly grated raw fennel with parmesan shavings dressed with a little olive oil and the pud, a coconut milk panna cotta with a top-dressing of marinated minted strawberries and a crumble topping. This was the only course we were not too keen on - mostly due to texture - a little too much going on with the smoothness of the panna cotta and the slightly gritty texture of the crumble (but then I think we're panna cotta purists so perhaps we're never satisfied on this front).
We had a glass of house Chardonnay as an apero (not exciting) and followed with a half bottle of Savennières Le Clos Saint Yves 2007 from Domaine Baumard - under Stelvin. A Savennières producer using screw-cap - we're big fans and where the wine is produced to be drunk early, a good solution.
A word about 'les Travaux'. Angers has been in chaos for the past two years whilst struggling to maintain commerce at the same time as installing the network for the new tramway, the first part of which is due to be finished by 2010. Over the past few months this has affected the Place du Ralliement - the main square by the pedestrian quarter. Work continues with the entire square in disorder, cranes and heavy machinery working all day and the city's most central underground parking facility suspended. Provence Café is not the only restaurant to be affected, the Brasserie du Theatre and several others are having to endure months of noise and ugliness while trying to keep their heads above water financially. So, this is a plea to you to continue to support Angers and its restaurants. Apparently, no compensation is being offered to businesses that are seriously affected by the disruption - I could be wrong.

With coffees, the bill came to 72€ for two.

Provence Caffé
9 Place du Ralliement
Tél:02 41 87 44 15

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