Restaurant La Tour, chef Baptiste Fournier, Sancerre, France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Restaurant La Tour Heart
Restaurants and bars
Open: Lunch Tue - Sun, dinner Tue - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 2 48 54 00 81
Address: 31, Nouvelle place
Sancerre, 18300
Country: France
Food Style: French

Restaurant La Tour is a very smart restaurant in the beautiful village of Sancerre in the Loire Valley. The food is very good, the service excellent and the wine list representative of the best of the region. We believe that this restaurant is a rising regional star!
Even though we were in a Fournier restaurant where a lot of their wines are available, we were anxious to ry the Francois Cotat Cuvee Paul Sancerre 1999. Cotat who makes his cult wines in the nearby village of Chavignol (one of our favourite villages in the Loire because it is entirely dedicated to wine and cheese making). The reason we wanted to try it is that it is difficult to locate his wines in Australia.
The wine was certainly well made. It was a clean, clear wine although it had not been filtered, it had a good level of acidity but it was also, for our palates, quite sweet. However it worked well both as an aperitif and with some of the dishes that were to come.
We opted for the well-priced three course lunch which had a choice of two dishes for each course thus providing us with six options to choose from. We chose to have every dish. The bread that had arrived also pointed to serious intent in the kitchen. It was crusty and crunchy, but with serious chewy bread on the inside. Lovely!
As soon as we had ordered our dishes the first of our amuse bouche arrived. There was an impossibly tiny vegetable tart with some of the thinnest pastry we have seen. Accompanying the tart was a cube of deep fried cheese that was perfectly executed with the outside being crisp and crunchy and the inside containing warm, melted cheese. Both of these dishes demonstrated perfect execution in the kitchen.
The next dish hinted at an Arpege connection with the now common site of a coddled egg. It was again executed perfectly and was served with a glass to hold the egg and the glass in turn containing a salad of cucumber.
We then moved to the dishes on the menu. The first was Gaspacho de tomates du jardin moutarde a l'ancienne. This dish, once again, showed a connection to Arpege as the mustard was in the form of a mustard ice cream, which once again was perfectly made and complemented the cool gaspacho perfectly. A Canneloni de confit de canard had the most stunning filling of confit duck you could imagine. Two pucks of pea puree provided a counterpoint to the richness of the confit and a foamy sauce bound the ingredients together. Small herb leaves were used to provide more colour and flavour for the dish.
We were worried that Joue de boeuf braisee jus de viande redut might be too rich but the opposite was the case.
The other main course was Pave de saumon en cuisson douce sauce au Sancerre rouge. This was a classic dish with a classic, tried-and-true combination of ingredients that never seem to fail when they are plated together. The salmon was served on spinach teamed with mashed potato and bound with a light reduction made from a red Sancerre wine (yes the Sancerre produces a significant amount of red wine - and some very good ones too).
We then moved on to a Crème brulee a la vanille which saw a classic execution of an unmoulded brulee with shard of caramelised apple. The assiette de glace maison saw four ice creams in four glass bowls presented with the flavours being banana, pistachio, pineapple and Sichuan pepper. They were very good.
And it didn't stop there because we enjoyed three mignardise each which were technically perfect in their execution. A macaroon, a fragile, flavoursome raspberry jelly and a small chocolate cake.
So this was an excellent meal with the food being of a similar quality to that we have enjoyed at Le Grand Pre in Roaix and Chez Ruffet in Jurancon - but these restaurants each have one Michelin star! So we believe that if the standards are maintained and the service lightens up a little then we are looking at a perfect candidate for Michelin rating here.
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