Friday, July 2, 2010

Lunch at Le Saint-Jean (Perpignan)

Wow, am I exhausted from all the traveling and writing. I'm sorry if the quality of my reviews has gone down, but I just don't have the energy to write everything down. After all, the idea isn't that you're living vicariously through me, but that you can know where to eat when you go to these places yourself, right?

So let's get down to it: Le Saint-Jean. A cute little restaurant, decorated, on the walls outside, with a painting of Victorian-era people eating. Inside, the décor is contemporary. Unlike some of the other semi-casual restaurants we’d eaten at, this one offered no outside dining, which was fine with us. We like air-conditioning.

Our first dish (un plat) was a carré d’agneau au thyme (21€). While the portion of lamb may look a little small, my dad found it filling, and we all thought the meal was very juicy and tender. Nice crispy home fries. An 8 out of 10.

I ordered a demi lapin au four et son aioli (18€50). While the meat lacked seasoning (read: salt), it was succulent. You can see just how juicy it was from the picture. Clearly this was a very well-fed rabbit. The aoili was amazing (really, we loved it... and it might have explained why the rabbit was a bit under-seasoned, since the aoili provided all the flavor needed); full-bodied, smooth, and creamy. And again, the crispy home fries were very much enjoyed.

This salade folle du St Jean (14€50) came with a dried, cured jambon (somewhat like Serrano, except I can't say that with certainty) and a large slab of delicious foie gras mi-cuit. It was good, although not mind-blowing, and I wouldn't mind ordering it again.

I remember nothing of this magret de canard rôti (18€50). My apologies. It was my sister's dish, but she seemed to enjoy it.
Generally, you can't go wrong with a magret de canard. It seems that everyone in France knows how to do the dish, and they all do it fairly well. If you want a safe bet, duck breast is it. And it's a much more exciting "safe bet" than chicken.

I enjoyed the artful plating of this café gourmand (7€50) so much, I wanted you to see it from different angles so that you could appreciate it too. Remember: people eat with their eyes first.
We liked the variety of desserts that we were able to try--no other restaurant had offered so many tidbits with their
café gourmands--but while everything was good, there was nothing stunning. My two favorites? The blackberry/current fruit mousse (middle on the bottom row) and the tiny little fig tart (very middle). The minature bowl of slightly sweetened whipped cream (house made) was also nice. That was enjoyed with the coffee.

This crème catalane (6€5) was thick and sweet, and not as fragrant as the one we'd had before (at L'Arago). We were disappointed.

This St Pierre (7€50) was a dessert glacé, and so while it was described as a mandarine soufflé, it wasn't a soufflé in the technical baked egg-white sense. This frozen dessert was refreshing, partially because it was cold, and partially due to the taste and fragrance of the citrus.

This fondant au chocolat (7€50) was simple and good. Like a molten chocolate cake, it was melty and liquidy on the inside, and the full flavor of the chocolate was nicely balanced by the whipped cream (house made), ice cream, and raspberry coulis.

We had very sweet service, perhaps because the waitress was also Vietnamese, but the owner, a middle-aged French man who also waited tables, was also very friendly. Everyone who ate there--and I saw this judging from the faces of people at other tables--seemed to enjoy their experience.

Le Bistrot Saint-Jean

1 Impasse de la Cité Bartissol

66000 Perpignan, France

Perpignan, France

Tel: 04 68 51 22 25

Overall rating for the price: 8.5 out of 10


  1. Hi there
    I just came across your blog. I live in Perpignan and have just started a blog about French food - Would you mind if I link from my blog to this post of yours? I have eaten at this restaurant, which is just round the corner from where I live but not for a while.

    1. Of course, feel free to link your blog to any of my posts. Best of luck with your new project :)