Had dinner at a place in the old city of Elne called Remp'Arts. Already four tables full when I arrived soon after they opened at 7pm, and the food that's been delivered so far looks great. I ordered a small bottle of Collioure red and three entrees instead of the set menu - foi gras, anchovies and the charcuterie plate. It must be a night for good soundtracks as they were playing a cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah when I sat down.
The anchovies arrived first. The filets were alternated with slices of red pepper on the plate, covered by slivers of onion. Half a boiled egg, a slice of cucumber, some tomato, and a little bowl of very light aeoli completed the course. I tried the various ingredients alone and in combinations and everything worked - a delightful dish, delicious, well balanced and refreshing.
The charcuterie was next; Jamon served on a thin slice of toast smeared with a tasty relish, salami, lomo, black pudding, some sliced sausage, terrine, and a pile of green salad in the middle of the plate just in case for some reason you get sick of meat.
I was already more than full by now with the foi gras yet to come. I was about to ask if I could cancel it when it arrived. Lucky they beat me to it as this was another winner. The pâté was very light, not overly rich as some tend to be, and served with an onion jam which worked a treat. There was also a slice of whole seared liver on the plate and some dried apricots, which worked really well with the fois gras.
Now I was completely stuffed, and I hadn't even considered dessert. In fact, I couldn't - it would be like the restaurant scene in Monte Python's "Meaning of Life" climaxing with me exploding over the other patrons. Then the waiter bought the dessert menu and I crumbled - how can you say no to nougat ice cream covered in Chantilly cream? I certainly couldn't. There was a small dog wandering around the restaurant and I considered palming some of it off on him, but honestly this was too good to share.
This place is good. Really, really good. I think I might be back tomorrow.
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