+44 (0)7831 626 767
Yet another exceptionally good restaurant in Roanne, Le Roannais!
"Le Bonheur est dans le Pré" is owned and managed by a great couple – Fabrice and Sabine Brisse.
The unusual name of the restaurant can be literally translated to mean "Happiness is in the Field" ( seemingly relating to pastimes of honest toil, and natural, wholesome food).
This French phrase is well-known, and as with many things French has a more philosophical and deeper meaning.
The original Phrase was created by Paul Fort, French poet and prose writer, born in 1860, for one of his poems. Since then it has been re-used and re-interpreted for various occasions, including the title of a French comedy Film amongst many others.
It has been incorporated into the French psyche, and seems to mean that 'Happiness' is in the pre-amble to all good things, and their anticipation, like looking forward to 'Life' and all it holds for the future!
This Restaurant obviously endeavours to achieve and reflect, in its own small way, the essence and meaning of this French 'saying'.
We think it does!
Our second visit in a year, having originally been introduced to their culinary delights and warm, convivial atmosphere by our 'adopted' French family and excellent good friends, Adeline and Jean-Francois.
The menu of Le Bonheur is based entirely on the cuisine and wholesome 'tastes and flavours of the Sud Ouest (South West of France), and it is proudly dedicated to the celebration of 'canard' (duck!).
We enjoyed our visit the first time in 2006, and this time Lucy and I went for a 'romantic' evening out 'sans' our son, Ellis (AD and JF were boy-sitting for the evening, along with their beautiful new arrival, 3 month-old, Hector!)
Once again, we were not disappointed.
The place has a friendly 'buzz' about it, and its decor is an eclectic mélange of images and rustic objet d'art from the south west of France.
The interior lighting is subdued and ambient which contributes to its informal quality and intimacy, along with an 'infill' of contemporary background music.
When we arrived, at around 8.00pm, there were already plenty of people congregating around the bar, having either 'apertifs' or the obligatory after-meal Armagnac.
Pleasantly welcomed by Sabine, we were comfortably seated in a cosy corner and quickly relaxed, enjoying the hostelry's evening charisma.
We chose easily and went for the set 'menu decouverte de la Gascogne' (32 euros).
It was a good choice!
And one which we were to be totally delighted with.
The service was also impeccable, easy-going, and friendly.
Starting with an 'Aperitif le Pousse-rapiere' (Créme d'oranges à l'Armagnac avec petillant)
Next, 'Assiette Gasconne' (Foie gras maison mi-cuit, Magret séché, et Terrine de canard à l'Armagnac)
Followed by, 'Demi magret de canard' with sauce au foie gras, pommes de terre gersoises.
I had also chosen, on recommendation from Sabine, a typical red wine from 'Sud Ouest' – Madiran, Chateau Bouscassé 2000 from the village of Maumusson. It complemented the duck perfectly.
Then, 'Fromages des Pyrénées' ( strong-flavoured, medium hard cheese served with black cherry confiture)
And last, but not least, for dessert, 'Croustade gersoise' (prune tart with flaky pastry, served with a delicious prune sauce).
Yes, we were pretty 'complet' and 'replete' by then, but the whole meal was superb, satisfying, and just that bit different from the normal local dishes we regularly experience.
I did have a small Armagnac, of course, to help with the digestion!
Then Fabrice, Chef de Cuisine, came over for a chat, and he also offered me a 'tasting' of an older-aged Armagnac of exceptional quality which I simply could not refuse.
It arrived in a very large glass, and certainly must have been close to a treble, or more.
Anyway, I enjoyed it tremendously, and still managed to 'wobble' off to settle the bill!
Le Bonheur est dans le Pré
9 Place Victor Hugo Roanne
Telephone: 04 77 70 36 66
Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday lunchtime.
Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings