Auberge des 7 Plats – 79 Grande Rue, 72100 Le Mans.
It was my first fine-dining experience in France. Tremendously rewarding since I’ve just gotten off a 12-hr train ride from Verona to Paris, a 30-min metro ride instead 15 mins ‘cos I fell asleep and missed my stop, 45-mins wait at the platform, then a 1-hr train to Le Mans, and finally, a 25-mins walk to Place de la République to meet up with a friend. By then, I was definitely drop-dead tired, sleep-deprived and starving; not a good combination, at least for me.
After a few more minutes of walking, putting down my backpack, stretching my arms and legs, and being rejected from the main entrance (it’s weird: seems like it’s full or the kitchen’s closed. I didn’t fully understand), we entered from the bistrot section of the Auberge des 7 Plats restaurant, and were seated upstairs, in a little room of perhaps 5 tables for two or four. It was cosy and comfortable, with very low noise level. Felt quite classy too (I didn’t take any photos because I was the only tourist in the room and I felt shy to be snapping photos of food at that moment).
As we were deciding on the menu, an older couple was leaving the room, and I heard, “Au revoir”, “Bonne journée”. The first thought that came to my mind was, “What? Why?” We, people seating on the chair, were farewelled by people leaving the restaurant with such sweet words. Other guests in the room seemed to reply in the same manner. Aw… such a nice friendly town†. The experience was definitely something new for me.
The waiter replies with, “Je vous en prie” politely, each time I said, “Merci” when he refilled my glass or served me my dish. Just so charming. I’m in love with Le Mans already! How can it be a boring place?
Entrée was a standard serving of cashew nuts with bread and yummy dips. For the main, I had steak cooked à point, which was perfect, served with the best mashed potato I’ve ever had; it was very smooth, creamy with tiny bits of mushroom, and full of flavour and aroma. I polished off every bit of food/jus on my plate; I almost couldn’t stop myself from licking it clean. But, I couldn’t finish the little complimentary cute pot of mashed potato – should have asked for it to be bagged, but it wouldn’t have been classy, would it?
The dessert: mmMmmm~…the best bread and butter pudding I’ve ever had! My favourite used to be the one from Restaurant Balzac (Randwick, Australia), but now, it’s from this French restaurant. It was made with brioche, and read as “…brioche pain perdu…” in the menu (it’s all I could recall, but the taste…it’s still embedded in my brain); just so soft, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth, and soaked in whatever not-too-sweet goodness that it came in. It was heavenly. I could eat this everyday. Totally worth the entire train ride, walking, and waiting. If this were to be the cause of my weight gain, so be it. I wouldn’t mind.
Also, I would have gladly paid €50 for this meal, instead of just €11. €11 and not a cent more for the lunch formule. I don’t know of any other restaurant that can beat the taste, service, and serving size for that same price.
I rate Auberge des 7 Plats 10/10.
The first perfect scorer, and yet, I do not have any photos from it. Only memories in my mind. Mais je sais que j’adore ce restaurant!
By the way, the serve only 7 main course dishes. I’m sure they’re all miam!
† Which reminds me of an incident while doing the 25-mins walk to Place de la République. I walked past a “homeless” person and even though I walked straight ahead and ignored him, from the corner of my eye, I could see him giving me a smile when he said, “Bonne journée, madame“. Eeek…it made me feel like I’m a bad person. Perhaps I should have stopped and listen to what he wanted to say.