CHESTERFIELD: Four-star rating for Maison Mes Amis

NDET 29-1-13 RKH 2 Maison Mes Amis owner Marcella Kirk with chefs (L) Craig Skinner and (R) James Gaunt

NDET 29-1-13 RKH 2 Maison Mes Amis owner Marcella Kirk with chefs (L) Craig Skinner and (R) James Gaunt

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LES Bleus may have a touch of the blues after their shock six nations defeat to Italy at the weekend, but the French can still revel in their glorious food.

LES Bleus may have a touch of the blues after their shock six nations defeat to Italy at the weekend, but the French can still revel in their glorious food.

And though the rise of modern British cooking has stolen some of the culinary limelight from our Gallic cousins across La Manche, French food rightly maintains an enviable reputation.

It is a reputation celebrated at Maison Mes Amis, on Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield.

A Sunday lunchtime visit brought us to an eatierie so popular, those without reservations were being turned away - always a good sign.

The decor, with chandeliers and floral wall patterns is a far cry from the building’s former incarnation as the Prince of Wales pub, but though busy, there were plenty of warm, attentive staff who made us feel very welcome.

The French treat meal times as a celebration for the whole family, and it was wonderful to see so many different generations eating together, with none of the hauteur you get at many British restaurants.

Seated at a bijou window table, the starter picked itself. And, the measure of any good French restaurant, the Moules Mariniere (£6.50), passed with flying colours. Served in a large pot brought to our table, there was a generous serving of shellfish in a light but delicious sauce.

For main I opted for the slow braised ox cheek in beer and black treacle, served with chive pomme puree (£14.50).

The meat was so softly tender it melted in the mouth, while the treacle flavour added a depth, without overpowering.

My initial reaction on tasting the potato was that it was under-seasoned, but in fact it balanced the rich meat perfectly. Especially when washed down by a bottle of very good Cotes du Rhone (£23).

Desserts include a wonderful lemon curd tart (£4.95) which was full of zingy satisfaction.

Vive la difference!

Rating: Four stars

Maison Mes Amis,

Chesterfield

01246 557394