When Dad and Sharon decided to come and visit in January for my birthday I immediately panicked. Not because they were getting a Ryan Air flight and thus would have less baggage allowance for Cadbury's chocolate supplies and copies of Closer magazine, but because I knew this would involve the obligatory 'let's go somewhere nice for dinner' , and being just a shiny new Santaise I had no idea where to go.
But who to ask? The answer was obvious...my collègue Le Barman of course. That's the great thing about barmen (English and French alike). They always know everything about everyone and everywhere. And mon Barman didn't disappoint.
"If you're looking for good food, try Le Clos des Cours. It's right next door to chez toi."
Once Dad and Sharon were back at l'appart we wandered down to the restaurant to check out the menu. Pan-fried foie gras, fish fresh from the market, raspberry millefeuille...Table for four it was then!
Apart from Dad's (loud) attempts to speak French, everything was perfect about the evening. From the personal and friendly reception by the salle, to the varied and interesting menu options and the exquisitely prepared and presented dishes, we were unable to find a fault. Despite the complexity of the menu, the wait between courses seemed relatively short and everyone was left with a feeling of being satisfied but not stuffed.
We were so impressed with Le Clos des Cours that when Taté and Tonton came to visit we didn't even hesitate before booking a table. This time due to abnormally hot May weather we got to experience dining on the extensive terrace (even bigger than the whole inside) and due to the seasonal changes in the menu I tasted pigeon for the first time in my life...Verdict: delicious!
Our third visit with the family, the evening of Steve and Zoe's one-nighter on the way up to Nantes, was as sublime as the others. The waiter was extremely attentive and charming, and the food was once again cooked to perfection: steak with forgotten vegetables, scallops in a citrus dressing, asian tuna fritters. The assiette gourmande Chéri and I shared for dessert had literally Zoe drooling.
The ultimate compliment, however, came from Steve: "It's not bad, really, this French food."
No, not bad at all.
Address: 2, Place du Théâtre, 17100 Saintes
Budget: 25-30£ (with wine)
Greedy rating: 5 spoons