A new restaurant has opened in Médard Square, walking distance from here and right across from the St. Médard church. It's called Grain de Sel and has definite flavours from India and northern Africa.
There is a subtle incense fragrance that permeates the air, just enough to be refreshing without being cloying or overpowering. Soft strands of international music can be heard as in a distance.
The tables look very inviting, strewn with rose petals. The wine makes everything look very rosy as well.
The appetizer was a "Summer Medley", (salade fraîcheur) with an incredible attention to detail. There was a sliced avocado with a lemon sauce, three prawns in a mayonnaise which triggered my taste buds to the "Thousand Islands", sliced tomatoes, a piece of cantaloupe (melon as they say here), caviar, 2 pieces of pan fried tuna, and a light green salad with its own vinaigrette, topped with a few chives and a carved cherry tomato. Very attractive, and oh so tasty!
Dinner was a light "doré" fish with paprika and lemon, with a side of basmati rice and a sauce with a "soupçon" of curry. Nothing is frozen in this restaurant and tastes fresh, fresh, fresh.
My dessert was a piece of strawberry pie. It had a shortbread crust, some custard, then all these beautiful strawberries standing up with a glaze on top. It was served with a strawberry coulis, whipped cream (Chantilly), and some strawberry sorbet.
Karl had the chocolate mousse on a bed of pears, topped with more pears. A wafer cigar completed the presentation.
Meet David Martineau, the chef and owner of Grain de Sel. He knew I was Canadian the minute I said my first word. He's not the first to mention that I sound like Céline Dion, which I suppose is what all French-Canadians sound like to a foreigner's ear? He said he spoke with a lot of Canadians when he worked for Air Transat, the big Montreal travel firm. He worked for them from Paris.
David studied at the prestigious "Institut Paul Bocuse" in Lyon. Lyon is considered the gastronomic centre of France.
He knows Paul Duguin from Le Chapeau Rouge, our favourite restaurant in Chinon, who is a Michelin chef, so we had a little chat about him. I try to get to know all the chefs!
Grain de Sel opened its doors on March 1st, 2012, so this is a very new business. From what we saw and tasted, we can only predict success.