Located in the picturesque village of Francheville – just a few miles from Verneuil-sur-Avre – this lovely restaurant provided our first dinner on our Normandy trip.
Although not Michelin-starred, it still has a great reputation and was awarded two “toques” by the Gault & Millau guide.
The place is welcoming and, on that chilly October evening, we appreciated the fireplace which warmed up the whole ambience.
The menu was typically French, offering a choice of four different dishes for each course.
I opted for the cod with homemade aioli as a starter. The fish was cooked to perfection, and the homemade aioli not overpowering. A bed of perfectly-cooked steamed potatoes gave a hint of floury texture to the dish. I then had a “Quasi de veau au cidre” (a veal equivalent to rump steak), so tender the knife cut through it like butter. The creamy cider-based sauce served with it offered just the perfect balance between the ingredients. As for the potato purée – I insist on purée and not mash, as the two recipes are very different – it was fluffy and light, perfect to soak up the sauce.
My companions ordered very different options, One went for the escargots… and to any escargot connoisseur, these were real “Gris de Bourgogne” (the tastiest and biggest snails you can find…) in a delicate and well-balanced beurre d’escargot. Another of my colleagues went for the poached egg in a creamy parmesan veloute. It looked divine, and she seemed bowled over by the oozing eggy creaminess.
For mains, one went for the peppercorn fillet steak, another one for the Dover sole, and the last tried the farm chicken in cream sauce. I didn’t experience these dishes myself, but I could tell they thoroughly enjoyed their meal.
For dessert, my companions went for the Pain d’Épices (spiced cake), prepared as pain perdu or French Toast, as it is known in the US, served with a runny caramel sauce and a simple scoop of vanilla ice-cream. I decided to keep on the local specialities by opting for the oven-roasted apple served with a small glass of calvados. You then have two options, either tipping the liquor over the apple, or sipping it alongside the dish. I went for a compromise, pouring some on the dish, and drinking the rest! The apple literally melted in the mouth.
I think it’s important to point out how ingredients are key to a good dish. And these ingredients were perfect. Which brought all those rather simple dishes to a whole new level,,,no wonder they were awarded the two “toques” by Gault & Millau”. Beautiful ingredients combined with perfect cooking will always be a winning combination.
Sometimes, a good evening is all about these simple ingredients: lovely people, good food, good wine, and a lovely relaxed atmosphere. We certainly had all those ingredients going at the Manoir de la Ferriere