Thursday, 16 August 2018

L'Escale Village, Deols


This photo doesn't give you a proper idea of the vastness of the carpark. I particularly like idea that the drivers the two semi-trailers piled high with big bales of straw are in with us taking lunch.

L'Escale Village at Déols, near Chateauroux, is a huge truck stop (one of the biggest in Europe apparently, and reknowned all over). Situated just off the A20 (the autoroute known as the Occitane) it is open 24/7. There is a restaurant doing up to 600 covers a day and a brasserie doing 1500. They host conferences and do catering for events. Truck drivers can stop there, chill out in their own dedicated space, and take a shower. There is a shop where you can buy clothes and personal hygiene items. Wifi is free. The 4000 square metre carpark takes hundreds of cars and dozens of trucks. It sounds horrendous, but actually it's rather good and we warmly recommend it. The staff, 85 of them in total, are friendly and welcoming and the food is excellent (and good value -- three courses in the brasserie is €17.90, €14 for a 'trucker's lunch', €9 for kids, up to €50 in the restaurant).

Simon and I had the brasserie special of the day
 -- lamb shank with mashed potato and roasted aubergine, followed by bombe Alaska.

We've eaten there a couple of times, the most recent being with Simon's father before we dropped him off at the airport.

The front entrance.

The figures are staggering. 150 kg of steak a week, 120 kg of calves head (one of their specialities), 60 kg of salmon, 80 kg of kidneys, 3600 eggs. In the kitchen there are ten dishwashers, twenty chefs and five pastry chefs. The boss works 16 hour days, seven days a week and hasn't taken a holiday in 10 years.

19 comments:

  1. You can't stop progress, can you?

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    1. I think it's been there a long time. My impression is that it opened in the 50s or 60s.

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  2. The lamb shanks look especially good. But all those kidneys... !

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    1. Don't get me wrong — I really like veal kidney and lamb kidneys. So do truck drivers, I guess.

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    2. We reckon they were the best lamb shanks we've ever had -- and we really like lamb shanks and almost always order them if they are on a menu. The kidney number is amazing isn't it? Although it was the calves heads that really boggled me. Just goes to demonstrate cultural differences. Next time I'll have to have them, because I really like kidneys too.

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  3. It makes me laugh to think of going into an American truck stop and being able to order lamb shanks and roasted eggplant...much less kidneys!

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    1. Well, indeed. I really like taking my American clients past the offal butcher in the market and grossing them out :-)

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    2. You’re such a devilish devil, Susan! Those poor Americans, they might have a stroke or a heart attack! After they have really enjoyed a coq au vin Americans almost faint when you tell them the sauce was made with the blood of the chicken.

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    3. Except that it wouldn't be true these days. It would be red wine and chicken liver.

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    4. I wonder how Paris or Lyon restaurants make their coq au vin nowadays. I remember one in Paris, Chez René, where the coq au vin sauce was almost black, not at all the color of red wine. Of course, that was 25 years ago. The Americans Walt and I were having dinner with were blown away by how good the chicken and its sauce tasted. They talked about it all the next day, until I finally told them that the traditional sauce was made with the blood of the chicken. Then they stopped talking about it.

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    5. Yes. We'll all have to order coq au vin in likely looking restaurants in the next 12 months and compare notes :-)

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  4. I learn the most interesting things on your blog.

    Your interview skills must be top-notch, to learn that about the boss. Given his hectic pace, he was probably glad to take a little break and talk to you.

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    1. I can't take first hand credit for that factoid. I found an interview with him from last year in Le Monde. He does seem to chat with the regulars though.

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    2. The article in Le Monde that you linked to is interesting.

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    3. Yes, lots of great info that I included in the blog post.

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  5. The big question is how many calves heads are in 120kg? The lamb shank looks tasty. I would have the Kidney though. C

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    1. A calf's head has to weigh a couple of kilos and serve 10, so a rough estimate would be 60 calves heads serving 600 people a week!

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    2. This site says that: Une tête [de veau] entière pèse de 6 à 9 kg (selon les races et l’âge du veau), cervelle (250 à 300 g), langue (700 g à 1 kg), et os compris.

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    3. OK, so that's 20 heads, and 200 people. Still out of the ordinary.

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