Madame Sousou is a semi well-kept secret amongst locals and even then most people only know it for its le petit dejeuner (breakfast) but this is a restaurant that is open from 9am to late.
While 9am may seem like a very late breakfast for many of us it does suit the area well.
The interior reminds me of a typical classic Parisian café; lots of wood, marble bar, artwork everywhere and lots of wine on display. It has big open windows that let the light and air in but it still maintains that classic cosiness. The cosiness is extenuated by one of its downsides in that the tables are packed in (once again just like in Paris). This does make squeezing in a group event with the table next to you sometimes.
The staff are all warm and friendly and but some do lack the professional touches that you would expect so your experience can vary depending on the staff member who is looking after you. It does seem to be made up of a lot of travellers with wide ranging countries of origin: French (as you would expect), German, Scottish and a couple of Australians.
Now the food. The food is traditional French style (with many of the standard variations that many people think are French but are not – Eggs Benedict for example). I have had several dishes at three daily meals so here goes:
Breakfast – this, to many, is the main reason for going to Madame Sousou.
While a typically egg based menu, some dishes are cooked a little different to what you may expect. The Œufs En Cocotte is not cooked in a ramekin as is traditional but rather in a flat metal pan. To compensate for the additional heat, extra cream and butter is used which does give a slight oiliness to this dish but does add to its richness. The Pain Perdu was a wonderful and rich fruity brioche with poached pear and a light golden syrup. The Sousou breakfast is a wonderful indulgent jean stretcher. For those who look more to the healthier side of things, the bircher style muesli is very flavoursome and a very decent size serving. The porridge is great and I especially liked the addition of the tea soaked prunes.
There are two different lunches – weekday and weekend. The weekend lunch is more of an extension of the breakfast menu and a bit of the dinner menu, so it fits into the brunch arena very nicely. The weekday lunch is more the typical French style lunch. The Poisson Pane was cooked to perfection with a breadcrumb of bioche and a remoulade sauce.
They have lunch specials where you can get several courses for a fixed price which looked to be pretty good value.
Dinner – to me this was the find of the restaurant. The chef does have regular specials and the advice is grab them while you can. They are truly on a day to day basis depending what a supplier has come up with as an ingredient.
The onion soup to me tasted more about the stock than of the onions so was disappointing as I felt it lacked the deep rich flavour that comes from the slow cooking of the onions. The Gruyère cheese Soufflé with a Jerusalem artichoke veloute with scallop and hazelnut was fluffy and full of flavour though I am not sure I agree with the slicing of the scallop into discs as it did leave one slice very rubbery. One night I had Wild Boar which was very nicely cooked and presented (no not the full boar).
Unfortunately they do not seem to sell a lot of cheese and this is reflected in the types available and their service condition ie straight out of the cool room.
They have about five desserts all of which are well presented though I will admit that the Crème Bruleé with prune and Armagnac was definitely my favourite.
The wine list is of a reasonable size with a mixture of wines from around the world. Approximately ten wines are available by the glass (unfortunately not poured at the table). Many of the wines are not your everyday producers which is great to see.
A great café/restaurant which occasionally struggles to make the switch between the two. Has a great deal of promise with the use of fresh ingredients but needs to take that little bit more of an effort in the preparation and presentation sometimes. Service can be sometimes a bit rough and ready but is always warm and friendly.
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