It's taken me a while to get around to Maison Bleue, despite the fact that I've been told it is the best place to eat in Bury St Edmunds. Having seen the menu, this is not a place I'd be expecting to go to with my vegan partner. I'm not suggesting that they could not cater for her, but more that they probably should not - their style of food is not something you'd want to see compromised.
After looking over a prodigious wine list I noticed that the a la carte menu for the evening was very limited due to a "festive menu" being offered in its place. This wasn't a huge problem as the special menu was pretty extensive, and at £32 for three courses, very reasonable indeed.
I had very high expectations of the food and was surprised to find my starter (smoked haddock with a scrambled egg, chive, parsley and chilli gateau) wasn't all that good. Anything with scrambled eggs in it should - in my opinion - not be served chilled, and certainly should not be overly seasoned to the point where it is intensely salty. And the smoked haddock was served looking terribly like a fish finger! It tasted okay but the starter certainly knocked my confidence in what was to follow.
I shouldn't have worried. My main course (Breast of Barbury duck served with pumpkin and parmesan crumble with a honey and cinnamon sauce) was fantastically well cooked and delivered. This also came with a side order of seasonal vegetables that were prepared and seasoned to perfection. Desert was a given after that, and I ordered something simply called "Chocolate" - a slice of something that was pretty much a chocolate fudge cake with cream, a quinelle of fantastic xmas pudding flavoured ice cream, some sugar work and a delicate sauce. It was excellent. The ice cream alone was a stroke of genius.
Finishing this off with a 15 year old Bas-Armagnac, from a choice of at least 20-odd options, ended a very good meal. The starter could be improved (and I may have chosen a weaker option here) but all in all this is somewhere I'd happily revisit. And if you are pondering whether or not to visit, try to do so now while the festive menu options mean it is particularly good value.
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