Hindsight is a wonderful thing. All the clues were there that the final meal of our gastronomic weekend in Lille would be the best – yet we failed to pick them up. As it was, the Clarance Hôtel proved as delightful to dine in as it was to stay in.
Our first meal in the city was in the Quai 38 restaurant, which is tucked away to the north of the old town and not really on the tourist trail. We’d read terrific reviews of this seafood restaurant and we weren’t disappointed.
We both had razor clams to start with – cooked in garlic butter, they were delicious. Damon had the John Dory in a saffron sauce to follow. I went for one of the house specialities: half a lobster with a jewelled couscous. I can still taste it now. (In a good way, I mean.)
On the Saturday evening, we journeyed out of town, to Lambersart, to Le Colysée. We opted for the tasting menu, and enjoyed some of the pairings – the pear and foie gras starter, in particular. However, taxi drivers struggled to find the restaurant and its red and black décor was harsh. I wouldn’t hurry back.
Our final meal was a slightly last-minute booking for Sunday lunch in the hotel restaurant. The dining room gave onto the courtyard garden and regal, high-backed chairs gave each table a sense of privacy. (Damon is pictured in one of the chairs.)
“The dining room gave onto the courtyard garden and regal, high-backed chairs gave each table a sense of privacy”
Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Pourcheresse served up a sumptuous lunch over many courses.
We could have predicted that it would be great, but what we couldn’t have known is that it would be a soft cream cheese that would prove the standout dish. With plenty of parsley, mint and sea-salt crystals, it was wonderfully fresh and tangy.
We even had seconds – now, I bet you couldn’t have foreseen that.