I would never have imagined that a truck-stop lunch would turn out to be one of the best meals I have ever had. Yet that is precisely what happened on a wine-tasting trip to Burgundy a few years back.
We had been to a château in the morning and had tasted some great white wines – working our way up from the entry-level wines to the finer, grands crus.
We then piled onto a coach and were whisked away to a roadside restaurant seemingly in the middle of nowhere. From the outside it didn’t look as though the place had been renovated in years – and a quick trip to the toilets confirmed our worst suspicions…
We were at a loss as to why the trip organisers had taken us there.
Coarse, garlicky pâté in a large metal terrine – the sort you might find in a school canteen – was served as our starter to share. It came with baguettes, which were ideal to mop up some of the excess liquid in our systems.
We began to understand the appeal of the place.
Then came the main course: steak frites. The steak was delicious and beautifully cooked, and the frites were crispy and distinctly yellow, presumably from having been cooked in animal fat.
The owners didn’t seem to feel the need to cater for any vegetarian diners. Instead, they stuck to what they were good at – the fact that there were no free seats confirmed that they had made the right decision.
In the past few weeks I’ve eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant, which was first rate. But sometimes the simplest of meals really hit the spot.