Le Relais du Dolmen is the latest incarnation of the restaurant in Charnizay. When we first bought our house, the restaurant was called Le Gargantua and was a lunch stop of très bon rapport de prix et qualité. Then the lease was sold to someone else, who lasted a couple of years, but didn't really impress the locals. Earlier this year the place abruptly closed. It looked like it had been abandoned, but in the autumn the decorators moved in. Now it has re-opened, with a new name, and a young local woman at the helm.
The meal was a simple, 12€ no choice set menu of paté en croute, chile con carne with salad, cheese, apple and banana cinnamon crumble or moeulleux de chocolat with creme anglaise for dessert and wine. Coffee was extra.
The cheese platter was a simple offering of camembert and Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine. I thought the camembert was particularly tasty. The crumble was pronounced very good by those that had it, and my moeulleux was good too. The red table wine was soft and black curranty and very drinkable. It went perfectly with the carne sans chilli. A coffee rounded things off nicely.
The restaurant has stiff competition from restaurants serving similarly priced meals at lunchtime in the villages less than 10 minutes either side of Charnizay, so she may struggle to match them for quality. However, it seems a nice place to drop into every now and then, and definitely worth patronising on the grounds that if you don't use it you will lose it. If you want a quick simple meal, the food isn't bad and I am sure the restaurant will evolve and develop as the new manager gains experience. Or you could just drop into the bar at other times for a coffee, beer or a snifter. I imagine it could be quite convivial.
We hope that the enterprise goes well and that the summer brings a boost in passing traffic. And as a place to be when the world ended it was perfectly adequate.
PS: We thought that next year we might organise a Touraine Bloggers office Christmas party, with a Secret Santa (€5 limit) gift exchange, maybe in Loches. Hands up all those who would be interested?