Ultimate french dining experience in Reims, France
La Table Amoureuse
French cuisine is known to the world as one of the most sophisticated cuisines and the flavour combinations do sometimes surprise however if you have been to France you would have noticed how important the french dining culture is for french people and it's not just about the food, it's about socialising and the time spent around the table. Dinner in France usually takes 2-3 hours as a minimum.
It's common in France to order a "formule" when eating in a restaurant. "Formule" is what we call set menu but you can usually choose between 2-3 options and the price is set. It's normally cheaper than if you were to order all items separately ( à la carte).
Standard french dinner structure is as follows:
1. order the drinks first. Bottle of wine (french rarely order by glass but limited selection of wines are available by glass), aperitif or Kir royal (champagne with Casis ( black currant syrup)
2. Amuse bouche - a small bite of something savoury before your starter arrives. It depends on the day and chef's choice and is offered for free. It doesn't have a direct translation in english or equivalent but it's like a taste bud opener, something that opens up your palette and gets you ready for the meal.
3. 1 or 2 starters (entree). In our menu we had 2 starters included
4. Refreshment pause (la pause fraicheur) - usually a small spoon of sorbet (lime, mango, grapefruit) to refresh your taste buds and get you ready for the main meal.
5. Main meal ( le plat principal)
6. Dessert and/or cheese platter (selection of cheeses)
7. Coffee ( even if you have finished your dinner at around 10-11 pm you will still be offered coffee or espresso, french don't believe that coffee is bad for falling asleep!)
Now that you understand more what french dinner looks like we would like to share an amazing hidden gem which we discovered when visiting Reims. It's not an add, not a collaboration, we paid for all the meals and this is our honest opinion as we were so impressed with the quality and value for money that we wanted to share it with you.
What is La Table Amoureuse and do I need to book a table in advance?
La Table Amoureuse or in english "Lovers table" is a small family run restaurant around 5 min walk from the cathedral of Reims and it's located further from the main road therefore it's not necessarily a place you would bump into if you don't know it (that's where online research comes in)
Restaurant gets booked out every day as it's a small space. It's closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. Opening hours daily are midday for few hours and then evening service from 7 pm with the last order at 8.30 pm therefore you are highly advised to book online
What I really loved about the restaurant is that they have all their menus online so you can have a look if it suits you and your budget. This is really important to me when planning my trips because I look up online before hand where I would like to eat to and want to know if prices suit me.
How expensive is La Table Amoureuse?
One of the reasons we wanted to share this restaurant with you is because comparing the prices and the food quality and the staff it was probably one of the best values for money we have had.
We ordered a signature set menu for 55 euros which consisted of amuse bouche, 2 starters, main, dessert and cheese platter so it's a massive meal for 1 person. If you are 2 people and just want a taster, it would be fine too.
What we ate in La Table amoureuse?
Enough talking let's show you some of the amazing foods we had.
**Please note their menus might change seasonally or monthly so always check their updated menus online.
Amuse bouche - Cauliflower puree with oriental spices. Slightly unusual at first taste but later cumin spices kick in and it becomes weirdly satisfying. They bring bread rolls with amuse bouche for free. We forgot to take the picture.
Starter 1: Marinated dorade fish roles ( roulades de dorade) with couscous, courgettes and mangos on the side. Marinated fish is something I love, it's a bit raw and sour, it must be my lithuanian background because we eat marinated fish quite a lot! Was also surprised how well couscous worked with mangos, just could have done with a bit more seasoning!
Starter 2: little pots of snails with garlic with toast on top. You could feel garlic from far away (I love garlic so that's not a problem for me) however it was a bit greasy ( a bit too much olive oil) but toast complimented it really well and overall a really good meal. I love snails!
Refreshment pause - a spoon of very strong lime sorbet. That was like lime explosion in my mouth but so good for refreshment! I don't have a picture of that one either!
Main meal : Grilled flatfish with watercress sauce, wine jus and celery puree. Absolutely incredible!
Kafh also ordered Calf's head (Tete de veau) in vinegar sauce with herbs. Meat was really soft and tasty!
Cheese tasting - the server comes to you with a massive plate of cheeses and you can select 4 or 5 cheeses to try and have them with the jam of your choice. In Reims, majority of local cheeses are made from cow's milk but I was never a fan of any cheese except of feta maybe and although I regret refusing to try them, I know I wouldn't have liked it anyways just because I don't like cheese in general. I know, I am the weird one. But people next to us seemed liked they enjoyed it immensely!
Dessert - my favourite part of the meal but after trying all of the above I was already so full that I was having hard time to finish it. I ordered chantilly cream dessert with white chocolate and icecream on the side, wow...just wow!
I hope we didn't tease you too much and you enjoyed exploring french dining!
Bon appetit in your food adventures!