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25th October 2014

Auberge St Donat, Plascassier

What a Find!

I was passing Plascassier at lunchtime and as I live in a place also called St Donat and was hungry I decided to call in.

From the outside I wasn't even sure it was open and it certainly was not look at. The blackboard said, and listed, four courses for €16. The main of these didn't really appeal, but I thought they'd have the usual brasserie stuff, even if it was frozen chips and microwaved.


But no! Inside there were comfortably 150 people - all locals (October midweek), maybe more. I was made to feel very welcome despite being on my own, and directed towards an area where I could choose to sit. Almost immediately - although after a welcome and a question about whether I would like red, white or rosé wine - a plate of super-fresh salad was put in front of me.

I've lived in France for seven years, but I don't think I have ever encountered service quite as efficient as this. The salad was lovely, everything was very fresh and obviously prepared very shortly beforehand. It was followed by a pastry tart of leeks and bacon, which was just delicious. Very well seasoned. Not beautiful, not 'haute cuisine', no splashes, foams and swirls on immaculate china or mysterious pieces of slate, but home cooked by someone who obviously knows how to cook (even for 150 people!).

The main that had originally put me off was 'poitrine de veau'. I'm not normally a fan of poitrine (belly) of anything much as I find it too fatty. But this wasn't. It was obviously a relatively cheap cut of veal, but rolled, mainly meat - what fat there was was delicious and melt-in-the-mouth - and the crackling had been glazed with a complex set of flavours including something delightfully anise or chinese five spic- ish. It was served with beans in a home-made tomato sauce. Nicely autumnal, and again all home-done. I cleaned the plate.

The only choice (apart from the colour of the wine) was dessert, and I had a slice of delicious home made apricot tart. The wine itself was rustic and rough as a badger's arse, but somehow it fitted perfectly. The service could not have been improved upon - fast, friendly, efficient and with a smile. I had, frankly, had 'one of those days' visiting banks, accountants, car dealers and trying to navigate myself through a mountain of French bureaucracy - the conclusion of which was the inevitable sense of 'why the hell do I choose to live in France?' This restaurant, its ambiance, staff and cooking, are the answer to that question, and helped restore my faith in my adopted country.

€16 for four courses, including wine and coffee. Just amazing. Obviously I have eaten superior food before and I would not want to raise others' expectations beyond the useful, but in terms of value, and service, this is up there without doubt.

Highly recommended, and I will certainly return.



A great find! All too often down here, I find the food pretentious, lacking taste and expensive, but there are a few like this, known by the locals, are worth their weight in gold. [Liz Gabay, 25th October 2014]

Hi Rod, I know this place and agree with your comments. A little local secret, now known to many thanks to your blog! [Fiona Maureso, 25th October 2014]

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