La Garrigue @ Home - all for one and one for all!
By Sharon Wilson
D' Artagnan's cry is an apt one for the hospitality trade at present. Restaurateurs have pivoted to the takeaway business, and in a stirring display of solidarity people have ordered by the thousands to help our restaurants survive the pandemic.
When I meet Jean-Michel Gauffre, the former patron of La Garrigue he looks very much like the Count with COVID length hair and a nut-brown tan. He is Morgan's, the present owner's, right-hand man in the kitchen at the moment. It is just the two musketeers.
We meet in a car park for a socially-distanced dead drop of French food - we both happen to use the same bakery - Woodlea Stables in Crossgates on Saturday mornings.
Plus la change! My brown bag contains a three-course meal of Languedoc cuisine for two. All we need to do is pour the champagne and enjoy.
Rabbit and pork terrine comes cold, and we heat the fishcake as per the written instructions included. I prepare to be forgiving of this takeaway food, but there is no need. The terrine of pressed meat is rustic and chunky while apple sauce and pickled gherkin are casual but clever complements, sweet and sharp respectively.
Main course for me is monkfish. Mr Bite zaps it for a few minutes before serving it to me in the garden. The fish is meaty and juicy. Provencal vegetables have sunburnt ripeness, and a springy polenta cake is perfect for mopping up the olive and tomato sauce. He has a very colourful chicken Basquaise with fruity peppers and mashed potato that is smooth and creamy.
The food is all simple to reheat and to present to restaurant standards. We are grateful and humbled at the skill and love shown; when times are tough, our chefs get going.
We need a rest, so it is a couple of hours until I devour a voloptuous lavender crème brûlée. with a dinky sugary shortbread disc on the side.
No need to temper my words due to lockdown. The cuisine is typical La Garrigue and I can recommend it without hesitation. I think they are on to a winner here and at £22 for three courses it is an absolute steal. Vive La France!