In the heart of Thoiry where the famous safari zoo is located, a small restaurant welcomes you for a gastronomic lunch based on regional and seasonal produce. A beautifully decorated restaurant is divided into three dining spaces, one with a terrace view and another with a view on the village's main road. Simple and relaxing, the restaurant feels like a “restaurant de campagne” or “bistro du coin” handled by welcoming staff and a dedicated kitchen brigade.
Walk in where you’re welcomed by several blackboards on which the menus are written. Choose between the “Menu du Jour” or the main display because the restaurant doesn’t have a printed menu. Starters, mains - including a choice of tartar, fish, oysters, veal or fish - and five desserts.
I like the the majority of the text in the place, but you can’t but read the sign at the entrance. “Share with us your comments for us to improve!” This way, you’ll think twice before sharing negative reviews online.
We were given the biggest table, a large tree trunk that can host eight people. A white table cloth, a fork and knife, wine glasses and water cups with two candles to decorate the table, set either side of a flower pot. Wood is the main material, you sit at round tables or the one big rectangular one, or high stools for a quick bite. All inside a white interior that oozes positivity. I felt good.
They even have a kids menu, an innovative kids menu. There's a burger patty served with a potato purée. For a kid it feels like a burger without having to include a burger with ketchup and fries to the restaurant's menu. Ground beef with no additives and little fat, it looks like a steak and is easily chewed by the little ones. I loved the potato purée prepared the real fresh way. On another note the bread baskets were refilled by the hour.
The food is exquisite:
- A small biscuit they call tartelette topped half a dozen choices of mushrooms and cepes in poultry juice. The perfection of simplicity.
- Warm oysters in a white mousse with lemon juice. It’s a great job, beautifully presented on a bed of salt, oysters like I’ve never had before, not gooey, but soft cooked and exceptionally flavored.
- Pot au feu de foie gras, three chunks of foie gras cooked in their juice with green beans and overcooked carrots. Innovative and tasty.
The main plates are as good as the starters: turbot fish with risotto, very tender veal with a side of mushrooms and a huge portion of lobster. All the plates are good, in fact very good, juicy and loaded with flavors. The needed textures using premium ingredients, colorful presentations, and a tasty finish.
Four desserts ended our experience in style. The strawberry brioche perdu with mint leaves. The chocolate tart caramel Demi-sel. Choux with apples, cream and a mango mole feuille. Mouth watering desserts but could do with a little more finesse.
The main minus would be the music. Lounge and house - annoying music with a beat when the setup invites you to relax. The second minus is the speed of service, you’ll have to expect it to be slow. The desserts took an eternity to be delivered.
Food at this restaurant is tasty but lacking in finesse and style so cannot be considered to be fine dining. But this up class bistro - if I might say - deserves a visit.