A fascinating evening on Saturday. We stayed at a hotel, the Hotel d’Angleterre in Chalons-en-Champagne which has a starred Michelin restaurant, Jacky Michel, and a brasserie. The restaurant was half empty, the brasserie, which is appropriately called Les Temps Changent (times change) packed. They were turning people away which is not surprising when the prix fixe menu is an incredible 21 euros.
I’m not sure how they do it for the money. Three courses, all imaginative, one outstanding - a terrine of moist chunks of chicken held together with a tarragon-infused jelly and served with a herb-studded vinaigrette which included chervil, chives and parsley. (Very good with a modest Quincy) A main course of jarret de veau (veal shin) cooked couscous-style with root vegetables and flavoured with coriander could have done with a bit more spicing but you couldn’t fault the fall-apart texture of the meat and the dessert, a simple rhubarb tart served with a scoop of fromage blanc ice cream, was unsweet enough to go with the remains of the Quincy too.
My husband ate off the a la carte menu and paid about 40% less for it than he would in the restaurant (10 euros for white asparagus with sauce Maltaise (an orange-flavoured hollandaise) compared to 18 euros in the restaurant for example.
The hotel too is very comfortable. We had a huge room at the on the third floor with a luxurious bathroom for 150€ but they have smaller, more modestly priced rooms. True, Chalons is not Reims or Epernay but if you’re looking for a convenient, reasonably priced overnight stop en route to or from the south, it’s a find. (Oh, and a final bonus, they sell champagne to take away for very modest prices - a Laurent Perrier Blanc de Blancs costs just 16 euros!)
(Apologies btw for lack of pictures and live links. There are teething problems with the connection at our French house and everything is painfully sl-o-o-o-w)