When I knew we were going to be in Dinan over New Year, I immediately started hunting about for places for a “nice meal out”. Our rental house had a great kitchen and we planned on eating in a fair number of nights also, you know, since the food in French supermarkets is amazing, we wanted to take advantage. Fortunately, we met Véronique from French Cooking For Dummies when we were in Paris, who just happens to hail from Brittany and she told us that La Mère Pourcel was THE place to eat in Dinan, so one of the first things we did on arrival was make sure we made a reservation.
Described on the website as being founded by Alfred and Virginie Pourcel in 1927, who have given an atmosphere to this restaurant by drawing their ideas and secrets from their love for the town of Dinan, from his passion as an Inn-keeper and her passion for home cooking. We devote our time to perpetuate this love of great cooking and seasonal ingredients. An authentic savoury regional cuisine, in an exceptional atmosphere in this 15 th century timber-framed building. Founded in 1927.
It’s all rustic charm and exposed beams on the inside. Large enough that you are not sitting on top of your table neighbours but intimate enough that it feels like you might just be in your friend’s dining room for a special occasion dinner.
We started out with an apéro, as you do. Kir for the ladies…
And a wonderful house apéro called La Pousse Rapière:
Mmmm – délicieux!
The menu is quite extensive and features Breton specialties. We liked the fact that there were many “prix fixe” options.
Neil, for example, had the Père Alfred which, for 22,00 € included: 9 Huîtres de Cancale (oysters from nearby Cancale), Travers de Cochon Caramélisés (Caramelised ribs) and Fondue au Chocolat fruits frais et Chamallows (who can resist chocolate fondue served with fresh fruit and marshmallows!?)
We were all served an amuse-bouche – a small carrot and parsnip soup in a tiny espresso cup:
My Salade de Homard (it was the season for lobster, after all!):
Cathy’s Gravalax de saumon (a super generous portion):
The star of the meal is certainly “les cocottes” – meals cooked in Staub mini Dutch ovens.
I had the amazing Fricassée de Coucou de Rennes aux Morilles (a chicken – bone-in – stew with a creamy morel sauce) and it was seriously to die for.
But we still had room for desserts. The aforementioned fondue:
with green chamallows (marshmallows!)
A delightful Moelleux Caramel au Beurre Salé et cœur fondant (once they got it right – the first time around the molten filling was not so molten).
A wonderful cheese platter: Fromage de la maison BORDIER, salade et Pain au Noix.
And a very Breton Gratin aux Pommes, Sabayon au Cidre (apple gratin with a cider sabayon cream sauce)
This was by no means a cheap meal but it was our one splurge in Brittany. A “must” if you ever find yourself in Dinan; the atmosphere, the old-world service and great high-end homestyle cooking combine to create a delightful dining experience. Merci Véro for the great recommendation!
Chez La Mère Pourcel
3 Place des Merciers
22100 Dinan, France
+33 (0)2 96 39 03 80