The deal is this: you get up early in your Dordogne farmhouse for a swim in your new pool (that's going to annoy so many people) and your wife says, 'make a cup of tea and I'll take you to lunch at a brilliant place I've found through TripAdvisor'.
And this is the beauty of Trip: we simply would not have found this absolutely tip top bistro in this sleepy town without Trip. It's a venue that did not enjoy a good reputation until an absolutely superb chef - English guy named Tony who's head-cheffed in the south of France for years - took it over in September 2012.
Tony's a good bloke: he cooks alone in his spotlessly clean kitchen and he leaves the door open so he can welcome customers. We had an interesting chat and he told me how he used lime to enhance the curry sauce.
We had the 13 euro lunch menu (yeah, cheapskates, but how do you think we afford the pool) and it was one of the finest, brilliantly presented food I've ever eaten. Kicked off with a tuna tien: beautiful. Then pork brochette in a curry sauce with mash and ratatouille. Sounds a mess doesn't it. It ain't. Chef don't do mess. He does beautiful combinations of simple ingredients that look lovely and taste divine and that main course was one of the top three dishes I've ever tasted in a career of visiting restaurants.
The choice of two puddings was Peach Melba or a Chocolate Orange Tart.
Everything that can be home-made was home-made. And he changes the menu daily. How does this chef do it?
There used to be an inverse correlation (you can tell I've got a degree in political economics) in France between the state of the loos and the quality of the cooking. I'm pleased to announce that this place's dunny was spotless, but rather touchingly they've kept the interior of the place as it was and it was rather rustic and downbeat. People who love gastropubs and thick, white, starched tableclothes will not find it that attractive. But that's OK. they can go to one of the large tourist towns and pay three times as much for something far inferior.
we were the only English eating. Others, and there weren't many I was astonished to note, were workman and a posh middle class family. What we all had in common was the notion that it's worth travelling some distance to this place in order to eat absolutely superb food at rock-bottom prices.
This venue deserves to thrive and I think they have a marketing challenge as they're so out-of-the-way, but as mentioned Trip is a great assistance to them.
We're going again this week. Can't wait.
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