Saturday, September 1, 2018

Being able to catch up with a close girlfriend without children and husbands over a glass of rosé is wonderful. Meeting each other along the Brittany coast of France to drink said wine is even better.

On our recent trip to France, my husband and I flew out on separate days since he had to work late and couldn’t catch an earlier flight. That meant I got to spend several hours with my Aussie girlfriend and her family and then solo once I got past a delayed departure from London Southend, an hour-long queue for passport control at Rennes Airport and an hour drive to meet them in Saint-Malo. No one ever said travelling in August was easy.

After a bit of sightseeing, us girls headed to dinner in Saint-Servan, a small commune located about a 20-minute walk  from the ferry port of Saint-Malo. This lovely neighborhood used to be its own town until it merged with neighboring Paramé and Saint-Malo in 1967 to form the Greater Saint-Malo area, which now comprises 50,000 people (plus 2 million tourists per year).
From the main parking lot by the sea in Saint-Servan, you can see the harbour and old city walls 
of Saint-Malo.

On the coast, the imposing 
Tour Solidor (Solidor Tower) guards the Rance estuary in Saint-Servan. Originally built by a Bretagne duke between 1369 and 1382 to control access to the Rance, the tower now contains a museum dedicated to the French sailors who first explored Cape Horn by southern Chile. We had a little wander here before we headed to dinner.
Since we were the first guests to arrive for our reservation at Le Bistrot de Solidor, our amiable French server let us choose where we wanted to sit – right on the veranda with the seaside view, please. My girlfriend had to twist my arm to order a kir royale for an aperitif. Of course, I couldn’t let her drink alone.
I can’t recall where I first read about this restaurant, but it is listed in the 2018 Michelin guide with a Michelin plate recognition. The restaurant offers an a la carte menu focusing on seasonal ingredients and a 3-course menu for 40 euros. We decided to splurge for the 3-course menu, which is still a bargain compared to London prices.

To start with, our server sent us an amuse-bouche of fresh seafood of some kind, which tasted like fresh crab and was delicious.

For our first courses, I chose the Portuguese bluefin tuna tartare and my girlfriend had the housemade foie gras. I usually love tartare, but while pretty and tasty, this one needed a bit of acid to punch it up a bit. The foie was lovely!
For our main courses, we had the Breton pork with mashed potatoes and the cod fillet with aioli and sweet potato puree. The pork seemed a little heavy for the summer season, and my aioli seemed to have an almost curry-like flavor.
Well, dessert was definitely the highlight of our meal! We ordered the Frasier revisité and the Kouign Amann, glace caramel au beurre sale.  A Frasier is a classic French dessert traditionally comprised of sponge cake, strawberries, crème patisserie and an almond cream. This one was had the same flavor elements but was plated in a more modern way. My flaky Breton pastry was perfection on a plate!
After our lovely meal and conversation, we had to navigate the small French roads in the pouring rain back to our countryside hotel. I rarely drive, and I hate driving in the rain even more. Back at our hotel in need of a lil nightcap after not drinking too much at dinner, I had to resort to using a teaspoon to open a bottle of red wine since the hotel did not have a corkscrew in my room. Ladies should always know how to MacGyver something.

I enjoyed my night out so much in charming Saint-Servan that I returned the next morning with my husband after picking him up in the dinky Dinard Airport. We found a small café with outdoor tables and each enjoyed a café au lait in the morning sunshine before we headed out for another day of sightseeing.
 Top and bottom photos: The difference of low versus high tides in Saint-Servan.


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jaz@octoberfarm said...

you sure live the good life...haha! i have always wanted to make kouign amann but have never gotten around to it. one of these days!

BacktoBodrum said...

Each photo is worthy of a water colour - I'm tempted to give it a go.

Unknown said...

Miss you already :(