In a quite corner of Northern France lies a magical place called La Grenouillère. Located in a rambling white farmhouse, the small inn features uneven black and white floors and a storybook-like lounge decorated with a frog mural from the 1920’s (the name of the inn means the froggery), worn-in vintage rugs and a 100-year old fireplace.
The true magic of the place, and the reason it has become a must do destination for in-the-know Londoners and Parisians is because of the food. Chef Alexandre Gauthier, who took over the inn and restaurant from his father in 2003, is considered a rising star in French cuisine. His restaurant already has one Michelin star and was featured as a “One to Watch” on San Pellegrino’s 2012 50 Best Restaurants list.
In stunning contrast to the inn’s cozy lobby and lounge, the restaurant is located in a starkly modern space; all steel and glass with an open kitchen, tan leather chairs and an open fire in the center of the space. Gauthier’s cuisine is whimsical and conceptual but with rustic touches thanks to the use of local ingredients like rich honey raised just up the road and seafood from Calais.
During a 9-course tasting menu (90 euros) only one dish fell flat– a tasteless dish of egg whites with cucumber relish, but scallops with earthy mushrooms and sunflower seeds, delicate crab meat between thin layers of black radish and a decadent beet ravioli filled with egg yolk were delicious. The wine pairing, featuring natural wines and house made mead, was also well thought out and reasonably priced at 48 euros.
About a two hour drive from Paris, staying the night is definitely recommended and accommodations include several bedrooms in the farmhouse and modern huts with private terraces at the back of the property. A stay also allows you to sample the delicious camp-style breakfast with coffee served in a thermos, as well as buttery brioche, eggs and soldiers and housemade jams, and chocolate hazelnut spread.
Gauthier’s casual rotisserie restaurant Froggy’s Tavern in the nearbye hilltop town of Montreal-sur-Mer is also worth a visit.
Rue de la Grenouillère
62170 La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil
33 3 21 06 07 22