Chahaignes village is a picture-perfect version of France, with its church, a bakery, a butcher’s shop, and of course Miton (a calm innkeeper who was born in the village) and his Japanese chef wife. At the bar, the glass of wine for €1.50 is no longer really bringing in the money, but in the two small dining rooms with motoring souvenirs (24 Hours of Le Mans, Johnny Hallyday in Dakar…), things are really rolling! Take the lunch menu the day we went: a hearty slice of homemade country terrine; thin slices of chicken dipped in a rich tarragon and caper cream, with rice, carrots and seasonal snow peas; and the first strawberries of the year served with a strawberry coulis and a mascarpone cream. For the second dish of the day, there was braised beef with a hint of star anise and soy, which hinted at the wandering fusion flavors that get served on the weekends. For example: crispy prawns with a pea cream; spiced lamb meatballs; tender pork with turmeric; exotic adzuki beans with a green tea cream! // G.D.
FEELING THIRSTY? There’s a handful of regional options by the glass (€4.50 to €5): a Coteaux-du-Loir white and red from Christophe Croisard or Xavier Fresneau, a Jasnières from the Domaine Gigou… And a few natural bottles, like the Vendôme Pineau d’Aunis from Patrice Colin (€23) and the Jasnières from the Domaine de la Roche Bleue (€48).
PRICE: Set menu €15 (weekday lunch), menus €18-21 (lunch) and €33 (dinner and Sunday lunch).