I always have too much food in my house. It’s the habit of shopping for two, where at the moment I’m only one, as well as an obsession with fresh vegetables. There are certain things I must have on hand at all times like eggplant, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. It’s an emergency when I’m running low.
Nevertheless, I returned home from the supermarket on Saturday morning wholly uninspired by my tower platter of vegetables and a fridge stuffed with cheese, pâté, sausage, and a massive turkey leg.
Nor was I inspired by my apartment, which was a mess due to a busy class schedule. If I stayed home, I’d end up cleaning instead of studying and it was imperative I get work done today.
So, I packed up everything I’d need and then some to be productive and set out to the university library.
With a stop for lunch along the way.
There were three restaurants I had in mind to try out. One was serving brunch, which intrigued me. French brunch? On a Saturday? Another was serving veal kidneys and lately I’ve been more and more tempted to try tripe. Call it an expansion of my palate and culinary experience.
But eventually I settled on Chez Loïc, a restaurant that I’ve passed often on my way to campus and had intrigued me for sometime.
First impressions? As soon as I stepped inside the scent of something warm, savory, comforting hit my nostrils. Lamb, I suspected, as that was the plat du jour. A good sign.
I knew the restaurant was supposed to be small, but I was shocked at how small. Only 5 tables: three seating two and two tables seating four. 10 places total. I hesitantly asked the only man in the room – who turned out to be both the cook, server, and owner, if he had a place for me – a lone woman looking for lunch.
Seated and settled on my menu, I took some time to look around. The décor is homey, countryside, wood-paneled walls with checked cloth and autumn decorations on the walls. Warm, muted striped tabled cloths. The restaurant has a real comfort appeal to it, and I didn’t feel strange being alone with my newest issue of Fricote as I waited for my meal.
The first course: a homemade pumpkin soup served with a breadstick and toasted bread. An excellent soup. Chunks of soft pumpkin that hadn’t quite been smoothed out, along with leek gave it texture and flavor – an extra bit of savory and bitterness that I don’t usually find in my own soup recipe. Though it was a little awkward to eat, I liked the tall mug that it was served it, simply for the ambiance of it. It’s nice to wrap your hands around a mug of soup on a gray day.
For the main course, I chose one of the two plat du jour: sautéed lamb with apricots and white beans on the side. True to the ambiance of the restaurant – countryside, home comfort style – this dish was full of the same. The lamb was tender mixed with soft carrots and sweet apricots in a simple sauce of its own juice, olive oil, and herbs. It was sweet and warm, and the beans which were creamy with cracked pepper contrasted well with the sweetness of the lamb. One side sweet, the other side peppery, a bit creamy, this was true French style comfort food.
And dessert, because I can’t resist, was a small piece of chocolate cake with raspberry sauce on top. Though the cake was a tad dry, it was still very tasty with not only the strawberry sauce on the side but also chocolate sauce drizzled on top. It was rich and satisfied the sweet tooth I always have at the end of a meal, but nothing more. When the plate arrived, I was actually quite relieved that it was a small piece and not an overwhelmingly rich, huge dessert, that I’d be forcing myself to finish out of some sort of guilt-complex to prove to the owner that I liked it. In fact, all the dishes were a well-proportioned. Just enough to be filling, not too much that I felt I was over doing it.
To drink I ordered a simple 25cl bottle of Anjou Rouge – local, red, a bit sweet and soft. And there I did over do it, finishing the entire bottle on my own and therefore stumbling out into the afternoon towards campus with more than just a little buzz.
With coffee and wine, the total was 22 Euros. Everything is à la carte, entrées typically run from 5-6 Euros, mains 6-7 Euros, and desserts are 5 Euros. I felt it to be quality for the price. Chez Loïc is not grand cuisine, it’s simple, home-style food à la française sure to leave you satisfied and ready for a long, long afternoon at the library. For those of you who can’t find a table at this tiny little charm of a restaurant, but have a bit of time to wait, takeout is also available, which I’ll definitely be keeping in mind the next time I’m near campus and have no desire to cook.Chez Loïc 9 Rue de la Roë 49100 Angers 02 41 39 28 07 Monday – Saturday I recommend reservations since it’s so tiny.