Monday 20 September 2010

La Braise, Rue Trinité, Laval, Pays de la Loire

Tucked away in an atmospheric back street in Laval's historic quarter, La Braise feels like a traditional French restaurant aimed at locals rather than tourists. Inside, the rugged white walls are decorated with lots of clutter, fairy-lights and postcards, while the tables are covered by white cloths and lit by chunky candles. On a recent visit, the sole waitress was friendly, but didn't speak English and was very inattentive as La Braise got busy later in the evening.You can eat a la carte or there is a 23 euro set menu with a couple of choices for each course. The starters can include a small, salty, but tasty, bowl of mussels, served with bacon, cheese, cream and shredded carrot. The main course options may include a kebab made up of chunks of beef, lamb, pork and veal. They aren't great cuts of meat, but are precisely cooked and are served with fried potatoes, some decent vegetables and choice of sauces, including some delicious Roquefort. One of the best options on the desert trolley is a rich, dark chocolate tart, served with a dollop of vanilla or orange ice cream. From the wine list, you can get half a bottle of innocuous Beaujolais for 10.5 euros. There is also a good selection of Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone vintages. La Braise gradually fills up with locals and even on a Sunday evening, there can be quite a buzz by 9.30pm. 7/10