La Courtille de Solutré sits in a wonderful spot in the sleepy village of Solutré-Pouilly underneath the Roche de Solutré, an imposing rock that towers over the local landscape of Mâconnais vines. Seduced by the restaurant’s secluded, tranquil terrace and its very tempting 21 Euro lunch menu, we installed ourselves at a table with a view of the rather quaint church and acres of vines stretching out beyond. A large blackboard menu was soon presented and we set about choosing from the short but well-thought out lunchtime selection. The children were to be catered for with jambon pureé which I could have quite happily eaten myself when it arrived – so attractively was it set out on the plate. It tasted divine to boot and, of course, happy children means a calm and relaxed lunchtime for the grown-ups.
The comprehensive wine list with its excellent local selections and good choices from further afield in France was enjoyable to peruse. We plumped for a pichet of Pouilly-Fuissé: Domaine de la Chapelle Rollet 2007 which had a lovely appley freshness, a hint of vanilla and a never-ending finish. It slipped down very well with our stunning starters of Gaspacho de Courgettes, studded with delicious ham, accompanied by a Roquefort ‘emulsion’ and my husband’s Poêlée de Moules au Chorizo with coriander and shallots.
By this time, the terrace was starting to fill up but thought had clearly been taken to not overcrowd it with tables which meant that we weren’t at all overwhelmed by the growing crowd of diners. Inside the restaurant, a similar approach had been taken and the décor was simple but casually smart with wooden tables, mute blue and grey paintwork, and well-spaced tables.
For the main course, I chose Filet de Rascasse which came with a tomato tapenade and a caviar d’aubergine which was topped with a crisp feuille de brick flavoured with pesto – summer on a plate. My husband declared that he had rarely enjoyed a steak dish as much as his Pavé de Rumsteack, using local Charolais beef, with pommes chateaux, haricots verts frais, sauce moutarde au mout de raisin and foie gras (6 euro supplement). Sneakily, I had ordered a glass to go with the main and my choice, a Beaujolais 2009 from Pierre Marie Chermette, arrived lightly chilled and full of blackcurrant fruit and freshness.
Ice cream was suggested to the children for dessert which brought smiles to their faces although they weren’t sure about the flavours on offer, all of which were fruit-based. What, no chocolate? After much debate, apple and raspberry were chosen and not a peep was heard from either of them as they devoured the homemade, full-of-fruit ‘sorbets’ in record time.
The husband and I, not being huge pudding fans, plumped for a fresh, young goat’s cheese with a green salad and an apricot conserve. The flavours were very subtle after our bold main courses and perhaps a stronger cheese might have worked better but it was a refreshing dish and probably what was required prior to our march up the Roche de Solutré post lunch. And my, that was quite some climb. Mad Dogs and Englishmen spring to mind………..
We were delighted to have stumbled across La Courtille de Solutré and our bill of 84 euros seemed entirely appropriate for such a memorable lunch. One to return to on another trip to the Mâconnais.