The Ferme au Grives (“thrush”) is a rustic barn that serves a more basic version of Michel Guerard’s food. As you sit down a plate of large goujeres and saucisson appears. Stella began with smoked salmon and a potato salad flavoured with horseradish and shallot and topped with caviar. I was impressed with the potato salad, whose powerful flavours were really well balanced – the bite of the horseradish and the shallot, the earthy potato, the salty caviar, alongside good quality smoked salmon (5/10). I had a very good farmhouse paté enhanced with a hint of foie gras, with toasted brioche with well dressed leaves (4/10).
I really enjoyed a simple roast chicken, but what a chicken. The Landes chicken is from an area called “Saint Sever”, is entirely free range and corn fed, as was evident from the yellow colour of the flesh. This had been roasted over the spit that is the centrepiece of the kitchen dining room here, and had superb flavour (easily 6/10). This was served with a buttery mash and a gratin of pasta (not macaroni, more penne shape) that had been cooked in chicken stock rather than water to give more flavour (5/10). Stella had sea bream in an aromatic herb sauce (5/10).
A superb apple pie featured fabulous pastry, as light as you could wish (8/10). An apricot trifle had rum-soaked sponge, apricots and almond ice cream with caramelised almonds (6/10).
This was a most impressive meal, showcasing the superb flavours inherent in the excellent produce used here. The flavour of the chicken was memorable, as was the texture of the pastry of the apple pie.
Below are notes from a meal in September 2009.
In the extensive grounds of Michel Guerard’s property at Eugenie Les Bains is Ferme Aux Grives, a simple country restaurant offering more rustic fare than at the 3 star restaurant in the main building. The setting is charming, with a barn-like main room (a few tables are upstairs), the centrepiece being a large rotisserie on which a suckling pig was turning, giving off lovely appetite-inducing aromas as it was cooked. There is also a fine display of local vegetables near the rotisserie. The wine list has just a few basic French wines from Bordeaux, though based on our experience I would steer clear of the distinctly rough house red.
Excellent home-made bread appears (7/10) along with saucisson and goat cheese and herbs on toast (4/10). A summer salad had very good ingredients (carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower etc) though I found the dressing rather too oily (4/10). Much better was a roast breast of Landes chicken; as the chicken was roasted they captured the cooking juices, flavoured these with figs, and served the result as a sauce with the chicken. The bird itself had superb flavour, and was beautifully tender (8/10). A dessert of strawberry charlotte was pleasant, and featured local strawberries which had excellent flavour (5/10).