Calais is not the greatest place on earth. In fact it’s somewhere that you pass through rather than stay. We stayed for two nights on our trip north from Italy in December because the girls needed to pass a vet check before entering the UK – a worm tablet and a dose of Frontline, €110 for that, merci.
We stayed in the old part of Calais and, as the weather was cold and wet, didn’t venture far from the hotel.
On the first night we asked the hotel receptionist where we could eat. She recommended a bistro down the road so all four of us went out for dinner. A few metres down the road we found Au Vieux Fourneau. A small and quaint bistro exuding French charm and on a cold wet night it looked very welcoming.
The service was that wonderfully aloof French style where you should feel grateful for being served – not a great start. But then there was the food.
It was really good. I mean really good.
To be honest it was not what we were expecting. We ordered from the set menu and received a complimentary “chef’s bite” to begin. Jean had a homemade terrine for her entree while I tried the fish pie. Mains were a Salmon Penne and a deconstructed Shepherds Pie. Desserts were the inevitable Creme Brulee and a very tasty Red Berry Crumble.
None of these bland descriptions come close to doing the dishes justice. This was French cuisine to a very high standard. Washed down with a half bottle of red and half bottle of white, it made for a very pleasant evening.
The girls behaved themselves sitting quietly under the table so all was well with the world. We were so impressed that we returned the next night and sampled more from the menu.
The cost for this three course meal? Look at the pictures and let us know what you think.