We had really high hopes of our outing to S Comme and our first view of the restaurant gave us confidence that they would be met. Although Palaja itself is not the prettiest of towns in this part of France, the restaurant is in a beautiful location, physically part of the chateau, although the food service is outsourced. We sat in the courtyard garden, which is beautifully done and there is plenty of room between the tables to provide privacy. The service is friendly and attentive.
We are big fans of the local Limoux fizz and were disappointed to find that the only bubbles on offer on the evening we went were Champagne, not Cremant or Blanquette, the reason being that there was none chilled. The cynic in me is tempted to believe that the restaurant makes more from selling Champagne than Cremant, but that may not be the case!
We had both wished to order the shrimp croquette as a starter, but sadly there were none left by the time we arrived. I had duck breast for the main course, which was perfectly nice, although the accompanying salad featured exactly the same ingredients as my starter salad (minus the goat's cheese). My partner was seriously disappointed in his steak tartare, however. To be fair to the restaurant, our waiter did point out that the tartare was prepared in the Belgian style, with mayonnaise rather than raw egg as the binding ingredient and he chose it anyway, slightly against his better judgement. When it arrived, it was clear that he had made a mistake, as it looked just awful. It is said that we eat first with our eyes, but this dish looked so unappetising that someone in the kitchen must really be short-sighted!
We had really hoped to find a local jewel. In terms of the setting, we did. If the kitchen could step up to match the atmosphere and the service, we would be regular visitors.
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