La Vallee Blanche first appeared on my radar back in 2008 after Joanna Blythman reviewed it. If a restaurant is good enough for her then its definitely good enough for me. We visited that year & my memory from the meal was that there were snails dotted around my plate… actual snails. Minus the shell thank goodness, but still a first-time for me. I had ordered duck by the way, in case you thought I can’t read a menu! So it was a little fancy for me when I was 24 years old but, to be honest, anywhere that gave you a free roll served with silver tongs probably was at that point in my life. Luckily I’ve come a long way since then & now I’d try most things, albeit eyes, and I enjoy something new on my plate.
I had been twice since then (in 2011 & 2012) & loved it the first time but thought it was just okay the second. So when a friend said that she’d never been I thought this could be a nice opportunity to return.
Entrance (on a sunny day)
First of all, I’d like to say that I like the decor in here – it has a slight fancy log cabin look & it makes me think that it’s a sanctuary from the Scottish weather. All dark woods and warm reds give it an elegant vibe, whilst the soft lighting provides a relaxed ambiance.
We popped in on a Sunday night after work & had the Menu Du Jour, which is priced at £12 for two courses or £14 for three courses. This gives you three of each starter, main and dessert to choose from. I love a bargain and this seemed like great value for money.
We both opted for soft drinks because it was a school night & then we were brought over a roll & butter each.
Next was a hors d’oeuvre that looked like a sausage/pâté on toast with some green sauce (I promise that I will start to write down these descriptions at the time!). Whatever it was, it was a welcome addition to the meal & pleasant to eat.
Furthermore, the starter choices contained another unknown (or untasted) ingredient to me – lambs tongue. At first look I thought ‘no way’ but then I remembered the snails & decided to push the boundaries a little. My lambs tongue was braised & served with beetroot, pickled turnip & radish. It was such an attractive dish that I almost didn’t want to eat it but I was too hungry for that. The lambs tongue tasted a bit like liver mixed with sausage & had an almost crispy edge to it as if it had been finished in a pan. This unquestionably made it taste nicer & I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The beetroot & pickled turnip managed to stand up to the rich flavour to make a tasty dish.
My friend opted for the potato & garlic velouté. The weather is starting to turn so it’s getting into soup season – I love a well made soup. She kindly let me sample some and I found it to be full of flavour and easily a curl on the couch number.
Potato & garlic veloute
Service was swift and attentive without being irritating & our main courses came quickly after the starters. I ordered the fillet of hake, jerusalem artichoke purée, baby gem & garlic veloute. The hake was cooked to perfection and it was served with delectable little baby onions. I felt that the dish went well together and I’d happily order it again. The only negative for me was that I would have liked something thicker on the plate served with the fish. The artichoke purée was quite liquid-y and mixed in with the veloute leaving no thick accompaniment for me to scoop up with each mouthful of hake. Saying that, the flavours were excellent and, as I said before, I enjoyed the dish.
The second main course was chicken supreme, sauteed potatoes, bacon & creamed cabbage. It sounded like comfort food with a classy edge and I was assured that it tasted just as good. The flawlessly cooked chicken arrived with a crispy skin and rich jus, which stood up to the salty bacon and cabbage combo.
Full to bursting, we sneaked a look at the dessert menu anyway. My eyes were drawn to the chocolate & orange pave with bitter chocolate sorbet. I had to have it and it turns out my friend was thinking exactly the same thing.
When the pave arrived we knew that we had made the right choice. Visually, it looked impressive, with all the components of the dish neatly on show. The next few minutes at the table were fairly quiet with occasional appreciative murmurs in between mouthfuls of velvety pave. A very good dessert indeed.
Chocolate & Orange Pave
After a mediocre visit last year, I can safely say that I’m looking forward to my next trip here. Lunch and pre-theatre menus are astonishingly good value for such a classy place with thoroughly decent food. The a la carte menu also has some dishes that appeal to me greatly – scallops with cauliflower puree (the best scallop accompaniment in my opinion) & veal osso bucco so I’ll need to put La Vallee Blanche back on my list for another time.
You might also like Cail Bruich: http://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/eating-well-at-cail-bruich/