La Boulaye

875 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

July, 2019

Product name

La Boulaye

Product country

Athée-sur-Cher

Product city

Athée-sur-Cher

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

Whilst cruising on board the barge “Nymphea”:http://frenchcanalboatcompany.com/nymphea-loire-hotel-barge, on the Loire Valley’s River Cher, we normally had dinner prepared by Lucy our fabulous cook. However, during the middle of our six-night cruise, we had dinner at “La Boulaye”:https://www.laboulaye.fr/ La Boulaye in the small town of Athee sur Cher.

The restaurant was only a short drive away from our mooring but appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. It looked very unremarkable from the front and we were led through a restaurant, with only two diners, to a large terrace which was around half full. We had a lovely round table, set a little apart.

We started with a complimentary glass of champagne whilst perusing the menu. Stefan the owner produced menus in English and explained there were two options: a set menu with no choice, but with two starters and another with a limited choice. As the set menu was said to be ideal for travellers in Touraine, which we were, we both plumped for it. The dishes were interestingly described:

Pork dish with the warm Tournedos of pork knuckles.

The carp: with small fry to pick with fingers.

The pullet of Racan: the poultry of Touraine (whole cooked first, then boneless cut, you can taste the delicate flesh of this chicken). Served surrounded by daikon radish with succulent spinach and small sour reduction.

The red fruit with a wafer, praline and raspberry.

There was a small amuse bouche of a sardine can with a vegetable ratatouille, slice of chorizo and fennel grissini. Francisco, our Captain and host, chose to go with our starters, a bottle of “Domaine de Ladoucette”:https://www.deladoucette.fr/ Pouilly Fume as the winery follows a family tradition producing some of the best Loire wines. Later we found that the bottle we enjoyed retails at around £35. To accompany our mains, Francisco chose a red – Cȏt Villes Vignes from “Domaine La Grange Tiphaine”:http://www.lagrangetiphaine.com/en, once again from the Loire Valley.

It was fabulously and exquisitely arranged food, although it was a little strange having two starters presented at the same time. Fortunately, the portions weren’t huge as we’d had an excellent lunch on board, but we had to decline the spectacular old-fashioned wooden cheese trolley and settled for espresso. On our way out, we were invited into the kitchen where we met Stefan’s wife, the chef, who told us four of them had prepared 40 meals.

The inside design and decor were fabulous, and a piano had some of its keys removed to hold cutlery. Although the food is wonderful, it wasn’t a pretentious place. Although we’d swapped our barge shorts and t-shirts, for smart casual wear, we needn’t have bothered as others hadn’t. The service was professional, but not fussy: the white wine was presented in a chiller sleeve which had seen better days, and we were left to husband our own wine.

Despite being well off the beaten track, La Boulaye appears to have a strong following as, on a Wednesday night just out of season, every terrace table was full.

“www.frenchcanalboatcompany.com”:http://frenchcanalboatcompany.com/

Helen Jackson

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