As in the days of Rabelais, the Tours region is made to be relished without restraint. In the land of Gargantua and Pantagruel is a gastronomic dining establishment that cultivates the finer things in life, taste and feeling. It was a pleasant experience for me, but it was my least favorite place compared to the other restaurants tried during our Loire Tour in France.
Tonight's experience at the Chateau de Noizay started in the peaceful setting at the library-lounge around the chimney, with a rich red ambiance on the low chairs and special chesterfield style tables.
We were offered with the local red wine ordered:
- Gaspachio tomate jaune piment d'espelette.
- Toast foie gras avec framboise et pistache.
- Cuillere de poireau et rollmops.
Chef Sébastien Hervé, named in the Gault et Millau guidebook
as an up and coming talent in the Central region of France, simmers up delectable fare to the tune of local ingredients flavored by the seasons, in perfect harmony with the surroundings. In addition to his special knack for vegetable preparations, he works well with young rabbit, mild-smoked char and Racan squab. All to enjoy in the two restaurant dining rooms, enhanced by courteous service and a wide selection of Loire wines.
Amuses bouche in preparation of the more exciting:
Saumon, radis noir
(served like a maki) and onions. A combination that melts in your mouth having a unique special taste. Creative indeed.
We were seated at the dining table by the owner of the castle, a gentle and welcoming woman then handled by the sommelier who lit the candles with his matches and served us the sparkling water in a silver bottle cover.
- The cutlery used is produced by the famous "Orfevrerie de France", silver salt and pepper shakers and a nice flower pot on the table side.
- I like their thick and big closed butter jar with ice underneath to keep it cool at all times.
- Most of the dishes are decorated by little colorful flowers which seems to be the trend at the moment.
- Refreshing green tea napkins offered before moving from the drink area to the dining table.
- A beautiful fairy-tale like architecture and decoration with warm lighting, Louis XVI relaxing chairs and a perfect table setup.
- The service needs urgent fine tuning. The staff is nice and welcoming but lacks experience and professionalism.
- The food is missing something. I really appreciated all the preparations and loved them all but unfortunately I now understand why this restaurant does not have a star or that the Chef is not a Grand Chef yet.
- We ordered a green salad, which was not part of the menu and my wife asked the waiter to let the chef create whatever he feels like for her: The salad was so simple and not up to the standard of a high-end French chef. I would have imagined something more special with better decoration, maybe a raspberry couli for example or some fine herbs added.
We ordered for dinner:
- Le Foie Gras: au Vouvray moelleux, chutney poire au miel de Vaugadeland et graines de moutarde. Foie gras was served on a rectangular flat plate accompanied by pears chutney then followed by a warm brioche offered on a round plate and a tissue napkin by the waiter.
- Le Thon: Tartare mangue-coriandre, choux pe-tsai is a delicious mix served on a black plate offering a mix of wonderful tastes of sweetness and wonders.
- Le Caneton Croise: Roti sur cofre, polenta et figue rotie: This is a success. I would simply say Bravo. The figs add a gentle sweetness to the preparation, served with Polenta
on the side.
- Une Salade Verte: Green salad with a mix of green and red tomatoes.
The proposed mignardises: Strawberry cream and mascarpone cheese, Tuille aux amandes, Pate de fruit, Chocolate with mousse.
- Le Chocolat: Comme une tarte a la feve de Tonka, Sorbet orange: Double layer chocolate with biscuit and three thin Chocolate crunches, orange slices and sorbet.
- La Noisette: Ganache praline, sable breton, creme de whisky glacee: Not my favorite honestly. Too creamy for my taste.
It was a good experience at reasonable prices, but it was the least I liked among the three visited during our Loire tour.