It took two strong personalities to take over Gérard Bossé’s former Michelin-starred restaurant Une Île, and declare their unabashed love for the classic French bistro in its place. At Gribiche (adorned with a royal blue façade and interiors to match, a tiled bar, and pieces by local artists on display), chef Alexandre Tessier (ex-Au Goût du Jour) and pastry chef Emmanuelle Moulié (ex-Petits Prés) prepare classics like pâté en croûte – a dish with a little history behind how they first met! The duo also send out plenty of other seriously cheeky dishes, just take the night we went as an example: an epic pâté en croûte made with all the less commonly used parts of the animal (pig’s tongue, trotters and cheeks), plus chicken, foie gras, pistachios and a Chenin-infused jelly; veal’s head served warm and paired with pickled celery and cauliflower, and of course the inevitable (and generously portioned) sauce gribiche; delicate smoked eel with raw cucumber and shaved almonds in a dashi broth; followed by the main course, pork sausage tucked into buttery mashed potatoes with plenty of gravy; before something sweet to round out the meal with a dessert of strawberries, mascarpone and crushed meringue.
FEELING THIRSTY? Organic is the baseline and locally sourced is the motto around here: a Coteaux-du-Layon Chenin from Mark Angeli (€75 a bottle), who has a stake in the restaurant, an Angevin white produced by Didier Chaffardon (€36) or, from not much further away, a red from La Grange aux Belles (€20).
PRICE: Appetizers €8-13, mains €16-45, desserts €9.