In the small village of Azay on the Indre River there is wonderful restaurant, offering farmhouse cooking and an all inclusive set menu. Six years ago Aline and Cyril opened their restaurant, which doubles as a post office, grocery store and bread depot, in the centre of Azay sur Indre. Situated on the riverbank, they cook simply and with a smile. A terrace under the linden trees has been installed for eating outside in the summer.
Aline comes from the Touraine but Cyril is from near Nantes, further west. The restaurant building is owned by the local authority and has been given a new life by the young couple.
The outstanding buffet of starters.
At lunchtime the buffet of starters is surrounded by eager diners like bees at a hive. The customers are local manual workers and service providers, and they come in droves, their chatter echoing in the two bistrot style dining rooms.
Cyril, who mans the stove, has worked with Jean Bardet at Chateau Belmont in north Tours, and other big names too. Aline calls him the 'King of Fish', and they regularly have several sorts of fish or seafood on the buffet and zander as one of the choices of main. If you want to try whelks, this is the place to come, because Cyril cooks them from fresh on the day they are served. As far as possible, given that Cyril is on his own in the kitchen, everything is prepared in house. They don't claim to be a gastronomic restaurant but aim for farmhouse cooking and offer a set lunchtime menu of €15 all inclusive. The food is good, well presented, fresh and affordable. They really care about the food and their customers and it shows.
Cyril and Aline.
Every weekday lunchtime they serve 40 to 60 covers. Customers are the local regulars, families, travellers and holidaymakers who have discovered the peaceful, restful Indre valley. On Saturday the blinds come down and they are closed, but on Sunday the service is à la carte. It's hard work and they have to be organised. Their motto, 'cooking is an art using food to create happiness' is on a plaque on the wall, and they strongly believe in simple cooking and good ingredients.
Aline does the front of house, helped by their waitress Jennifer. They know absolutely everyone and happily recommend the dishes lovingly cooked by Cyril. Aline's bubbly personality combined with Cyril's great cooking means this restaurant comes highly recommended by us.
The remains of a good meal.
They don't have a website and don't do email, so if you want to book, telephone them on 02 47 92 77 16. I'm not sure if Aline speaks English. I discovered recently that Cyril speaks reasonable English if pushed.