When our rented Ford rolled into Port Louis at 7 pm last Wednesday, the coastal town was already in slumber, with shops shuttered and only a handful of people milling around on the streets. We were half worried our restaurant for the night, the 1 Michelin-starred Avel Vor would take a cue from its neighbors and take the day off when we saw the darkened restaurant, but mercifully we were merely too early for dinner. The restaurant begins service at 7.30 pm sharp. Phew! After half an hour of driving circles round the sleepy town, we returned, and this time were ushered right into the handsome (and overwhelmingly masculine looking) dining room with effusive welcomes from the servers.
As with much else on the Gulf of Morbihan, the restaurant trade is a seasonal one, andAvel Vor is no exception. Thankfully, on a night with only 2 tables, the kitchen and front of house did not slacken and we ate tremendously well. In fact, we thought it was a steal, with our 48 and 61 Eur menus at least 30% less than its Parisian equivalent.
The onslaught of food begins with 2 rounds of amuse bouches, the braised endives with chantilly cream most intriguing of the lot (top right). The natural bitterness of endive was nearly masked by the citrus braising liquid, the concoction tasting like a tart pineapple dessert. The cream of shallots topped with cheese foam was a second, tasting much like a cross between a hearty french onion soup and air.
Our appetizers were homages to the sea, my ensemble of delicate langoustine flesh and earthy mushroom swathed with thin pasta sheets and gently peppery watercress sauce. For a sophisticated looking dish, it was very comforting.
P’s more traditional dish of seared scallops were paired with a puree of celeriac and curry sauce, a flavor profile oddly recurrently during our trip.
After sharing a plate of sole stuffed with lobster, we launched into meats, a welcome change after a pure seafood diet for 2 days. Both dishes very well done, P’s veal medallions beautifully seared and accompanied by seasonal favorites, morels and both green and white asparagus.
My baby lamb does not look photogenic at all, due to the fact that I had unconsciously cut into my meat before P could confiscate my cutlery for pictures. The lamb had a luscious, melting texture but still retained some of the gamey taste. Mashed potatoes were a study in extravagance, studded with chunks of duck confit and foie gras. A heart-attack on a plate, but so good we drizzled the lamb jus on top of the potato and lapped it all up.
Desserts were a little less exciting. After a pre-dessert of fromage blanc and strawberries, we were served 2 different takes on a poached pear, one drizzled with chocolate sauce, the other with honey. While the sauces and accoutrements were different, the pear halves were a little too similar for me, who’s constantly gunning for maximum tasting experiences in a meal. Oh well, I have only my menu planning to blame.
A fragrant cup of coffee and some dainty petits fours later, we drove an hour back to Quiberon on small Breton backroads, sleepy and sated. What a good meal to cap off our eating adventures in Brittany!
25, rue de Locmalo – 56290 Port-Louis – Bretagne