Sunday, April 29, 2012

Francapades - London to Le Havre

At butt fuck early on a Saturday morning, Hussyband and I loaded up Rhonda the Randy Honda for our first European Roadtrip. Cold Chisel blared as we zoomed down a deserted M20 at 4.30am - a time meant for clubbers to be stumbling home and bakers to be turning our fresh loaves of bread, not for being awake and driving a car down the coast!

The train terminal at Folkestone is pretty much bereft of anything resembling decent food, so a cuppa tea in a styrofoam cup was breakfast. Wish we had eaten more, as there was a delay on the trains and we sat out on the departure paddock for over an hour until given the OK to board our train.

Crossing the Channel by train though could not be easier, or faster, as in 25mins we were on the other side of the water and heading towards Le Havre. Following the coast, we drove through coastal villages and hamlets, stopping for a croque monsieur to take the edge off our hunger and adding to my caffeine consumption with a Red Bull and an espresso. 

Our first stop of the trip is Le Havre, where we stayed at the Novotel Hotel (along with the Scottish Womens Football team much to Hussybands delight!) After a soak in the bath and a nanna-nap we headed off in search of dinner armed with some suggestions of the concierge....and then promptly ended up somewhere else as we got lost.

Finding a small bistro opposite the marina, the menu looked tempting so we headed into "Restaurant La Voile Bleue" for a drink or two and to have an early dinner. 

Hussyband started with a bottle of Pelforth Brune, while I went for a rum punch that packed more than a wallop on my tired body. With a bowl of beer snacks, we chatted to the owner via her son who was recently returned from 12 months in Oz, and made our selections.

First course of the evening was a shared seafood platter piled high with plump prawns, oysters, a whole crab, aioli, lemons and the most god awful item of seafood I have ever tried - bulots. These puppies were so not good on the not good scale of things that Hussyband and I managed one each. 

Thankfully there was booze to wash it down with. We had to wash it down, a lot.

Moving onto our mains, Hussyband went for the duck breast with peppercorn sauce, it was perfectly cooked, just rare in the middle, crisp skin, and the sauce was just peppery enough not to overwhelm the flesh. Of course it came with the obligatory bistro sides of salad and frites....does anyone do frites better than the French? I have yet to find out, but wow if they do....

My main was very very naughty - i went for the foie gras burger, with blood rare beef, a huge hunk of tomato and mayo...yes, like foie gras needs any more fat added to it, but the French added saffron mayo...and it was FABULOUS. I washed it down with a nice big glass or two of Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux Le Verre.

Now by this stage of the evening I was struggling to keep my eyes open, even though it was only about 9am (the alarm had gone off at 4am, and I had driven a loooong way) so we headed back to the hotel for a nightcap and bed.

La Voile Bleue
Boulevard Albert 1er, 76600 Le Havre, France
Phone : 02 3 5 22 9
Mains: €15-30
Pros: price, staff, wine list, rum selection
Cons: That I didn't get to eat desert!

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