Monday, June 04, 2007

Le Touquet - The Market and Chez Perard

A weekend trip to France, part work part pleasure, took me to Le Touquet for the day. Having taken in the glorious sweeping beach, sand sculpture exhibition (!) and a seriously sour citron presse, I headed to the market. I love a good French market. There is something about the way they display even the most ordinary of ingredients that shows just how much they care about food.

Behold the glorious fushia and ivory glow of the radishes above! Did ever you see such a dazzling display of radishes? Peter Rabbit eat your heart out. I think my mother who was also enjoying the market thought I had lost it when I started to take photos of the radishes. And then the lettuces. And then the fish. Perhpas she had a point... All I knew was that I wanted to fill my imaginary wicker basket with all this beautiful produce.

Without a stove there was no point in buying any of the glistening poissons so I guided my now hungry parents to the next best thing. A certain restaurant named 'Chez Perard'. This is THE place to eat fish in Le Touquet. It is famous for its fish soup - you can buy it by the six pack to take home (needless to say, we did).

Once installed on the sun-drenched terasse privilege, we ordered some Sancerre from Chateau de Sancerre. I've had better, but it certainly hit the spot as did the large umbrellas that shaded us from the sun's glare. My father went for grilled lobster. You can't get much fresher than this...

Five minutes later, Laurent the Lobster returned pink and delicious. My mother opted for the spectacular plateau de fruits de mer. She went for the starter size - a good move. It was substantial, piled high with oysters, crab, winkles, whelks, langoustines and shrimps. It also came with a faintly alarming selection of weapons.

I went for a skate wing which was swimming merrily in a rich, lemon-spiked butter sauce and liberally sprinkled with capers which provided a welcome contrasting sharp 'bite'. Fish and vegetables were cooked to perfection.

Puddings were good in a very French, quite rustic sort of way. Iles Flotantes were suitably floaty, lemon meringue tart was refreshingly lemony and meringuey and creme brulee was exactly how you'd expect. Good and honest. But you don't come to Perard for the puddings. You come here for the fish. And it is unlikely you'll be disappointed.

Chez Perard, 67 rue de Metz, Le Touquet

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