Living in France is great for many reasons, the food definitely being one of them. But, sometimes, you just want a little taste of home and Sunday roast at Le Vert feels like it could easily become a regular treat.
Le Vert is a hip but unpretentious hotel-bar-restaurant down by the climbing wall and lake at Les Gaillands. It's long had a reputation for serving good hearty food and on a cold rainy Sunday this sounded like a great excuse to get the girls (and one boy) together for a good catch-up.
The dining room at Le Vert is surprisingly elegant for those who only know it as a pub; flickering candles, fresh flowers, sparkling wine glasses laid out on sturdy farmhouse-style tables... it's actually quite romantic!
We were shown to our tables and brought baskets of bread while we checked out the menu; the Sunday menu features two starters, three main courses and three desserts so it didn't take us long to make our choices. Although we could have started either with shallot and apple soup or cauliflower cheese with toasted pine nuts we all headed straight for the main course as we planned to fit in dessert. Strategic dining you see, it's all about the planning.
Between the seven of us we managed to sample all the main courses of roast pork loin with apple sauce, roast chicken with shallot purée and vegetable nut roast with butternut squash purée and carrot gravy. All were served with perfectly crispy roast potatoes and a delicious mix of roasted carrots, parsnips, sprouts and cabbage. I hope my mum's not reading this because she's being trying to get me to eat sprouts for years and I've always turned my nose up at them but these actually all got polished off. That's me having to eat sprouts every Christmas from now on...
I had nut roast and it was quite the revelation; I like a good nut roast as well as the next vegetarian but I'm kind of used to them all tasting a bit samey and more than a bit like Paxo stuffing. This was totally different though, it had been pan-fried after being sliced so the outside was nice and crispy which as well as tasting great also held it together well. The inside was tender rather than squidgy with a nice hint of roasted red pepper and the chopped nuts were quite chunky, which gave it a really satisfying texture.
Judging by the wiped clean plates, the pork and chicken were equally as good and were served with massive fluffy Yorkshire puds which were a big hit with everyone. The portions were really generous and there was much groaning and rubbing of full bellies when the dessert menu came round but, inevitably, we all soldiered on and found space for more. We're dedicated like that, you see. You sometimes have to treat eating as an endurance sport and commit to reach the finish line.
Rich dark chocolate brownies served with vanilla ice cream and a decadent bread and butter pudding (that we suspect had actually been made from croissants, ooh la la) were washed down with the last of the wine, a very pleasant Syrah, before we finally admitted defeat and asked for the bill.
One of the nice things about Le Vert is that although it has a separate dining area, it isn't entirely closed off from the bar so you still get the background chatter and clinking of glasses that give it a really sociable feel. It's a great place for a good old natter around a big table with loads of friends as you don't feel like you have to keep your voice hushed or worry about disturbing anyone. The staff are great and give everyone a really friendly welcome, you'll often find families eating here with kids in the early evening because of the laid-back atmosphere. As well as having hotel guests dining here on half-board, Le Vert is also really popular with locals, so booking a table is definitely recommended.
The meal wasn't the cheapest option in town with the main course costing 21€, two courses for 23.50€ or all 3 courses for 26.50€ but it was well worth it and way above the standard you'd expect for such a relaxed and informal place. The service was excellent and we were very well looked after with lots of attention paid to little details like making sure we had enough water and checking that we were happy with our meals. I get the feeling that dinner at Le Vert is about to become a Sunday tradition...
Location: Chamonix / Mont Blanc Valley
Cuisine: Brasserie / Bistro | Gastro-pub | Vegetarian
Vibe / Atmosphere: Funky / Hip | Laid-back / Chilled | Traditional & Modern mix
Access: Children welcome | Pedestrian access | Pets welcome | Private hire
Car-parking: Parking on street