To adore a place is also to know how to do without it. The memory left by From an Island during a first visit, in 2018, was stainless. The dinner at sunset, the trampoline with the children, the conversations under the walnut tree, the game of Scrabble and the campfire after dark… Impossible to repeat the feat exactly, even if the talent of the teams of Septime , at the head of this inn, is no longer to be demonstrated.
So to be sure that the scenario will be different, after three years, we arrive unexpectedly. If a room is free, that will be all the better, if not, we have dinner and we will go and sleep elsewhere. Disembarking impromptu is the only way to stay a single night at One Island, as reservations are for a minimum of two nights.
Here. Arrival at the hostel is like the first time, a few more cats. We are on a Tuesday, out of season, there is the small suite, just above the restaurant. It doesn’t have the calm of the other rooms in the hamlet, but it will do. For dinner, it will also be fine, except for a dessert.
A souvenir factory
After a walk to the vegetable garden, settling in the shade of the plum tree is a godsend. At 8 pm, the sun is still beating down on the gravel terrace. A cold infusion of lemon balm, rosemary and sage assiduously quenches thirst. The spirits calm down. The voices soften. They even get rounder, once the fried rabbit is served.
Pieces of saddle and thigh are donuts, like country nuggets. A so-called ranch sauce accompanies them. Mixture of mayonnaise and raw cream, matched with lovage and mint, it refreshes the meat. A few raw turnips cut into quarters crunch in an explosion of “grassy” bitterness reminiscent of the taste of their tops.
Later, a beef tartare is placed on the table. Seasoned with smoked mayonnaise and grilled barley, it tastes good to be accompanied by spruce buds in pickles. The barley grains hit the smoke of the mayo before bouncing off the bittersweet sap of the spruce. The meat becomes the playground of flavors that hardly concern it, a bit like the table of a pinball machine that has no grip on the ball. It’s disconcerting, very nourishing.
The plant is long overdue. It arrives in the form of an onion tart tatin, in a nod to the house classic: the fennel tatin. This warm conclusion allowed us to rediscover the shadow of our habits. With a variation, however. At sunset, we will not go near the campfire, but in the sauna which dominates the domain, with a view to the West. This place is a real memory factory.
The address From an island, Domaine de L’Aunay, locality L’Aunay, Rémalard (Orne). Phone. : 02-33-83-01-47. Open every day.
L’addition Around € 300 per night for two people.
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