When - March 2012
Where - Le 7, Valence, France
There are a number of ingredients to my perfect meal but it is rare they all come together at the same time. However, a few months ago whilst in France that was just the case. We were celebrating my girlfriend's birthday with her family. That meant ingredient one was already here, the right company. As this was a big birthday we ended up going somewhere a little fancier then we would usually go and it was a really great choice, Le 7. My second ingredient is of course the right place for the occasion. Le 7 is famous for being the less costly sister restaurant of the famous three Michelin star Pic located next door. A pretty good choice if I may say so! The third ingredient is service, we were warmly welcomed and shown to our seats, service was friendly, though perhaps a little brisk but it was also flexible enough to accommodate a vegetarian meal for one of our party despite the restaurant not offering one on the menu. The fourth and often the most important ingredient is the food itself, which I will discuss shortly. My penultimate ingredient is value for money, did you get what you pay for? How did this restaurant compare with others at the same price point? My final ingredient is how memorable the overall experience was. Will this meal be forgettable, remembered fondly, or am I hoping to never return again?
Le 7 is a modern French bistro restaurant with tables packed closely together and a fast paced service. The menu follows the theme of a culinary road trip across France from north to south. After being seated on a nice table in the corner of the dining room we were given some complementary bread in a paper bag, which was very tasty. After all no good French meal is complete without fresh bread on the side! We followed the 30 Euro per person three course set menu which we washed down with a bottle of Argentinian Malbec that I sadly forget the name of. Lunch started off with an amuse bouche of bread and hummus which was delicious. We then moved on to our starter of Pumpkin Soup with Coffee.
The soup was smooth and velvety with a nice hint of coffee running through it, everything was just right with this course.
To follow the soup I had the Shoulder of Lamb with Seasonal Vegetables. The lamb was soft, tender and slightly pink in the centre. The vegetables were finely diced and melted magnificently in the mouth together with sauce. There were some quiet complaints that the sauce was a touch too salty, but for me it was perfect.
After that perfect main I had a feeling of contentment inside. We had a short rest from the food and then it was time for dessert. I went with the Chocolate Finger which was a sweet, dark, reinvention of the Black Forest Gateaux with a scoop of refreshing raspberry sorbet served on the side.
All good things must come to an end and lunch was sadly over. I have to say all the ingredients had mixed together nicely. We had good company and a great place for this special occasion. Service was a little brisk but it did not hamper our lunch one bit. The value for money was excellent, it's very easy to spend £20-£25 per person on lunch/dinner and end up with an underwhelming meal. At Le 7 the food was great across each course and I only wish I could eat this well and at this price so close to home here in London, hopefully my quest will not be in vain! I won't forget this meal any time soon and hopefully we can go back again. If you ever happen to be in this part of France than a visit to Le 7 should certainly be added to your itinerary, unless of course you can afford the three star restaurant next door!
Pic Valence - 285 avenue Victor Hugo, 26000 Valence - Drome
Tel. +33 4 75 44 15 32
Tel. +33 4 75 44 15 32