Whilst French cuisine may not be spoken of in quite the hallowed tones it once was, there’s no doubt that our Gallic cousins set the standard for classical cooking.
In Chesterfield, the menu at Maison MesAmis gives away the restaurant’s culinary leaning just as much as its name.
We went on a Wednesday evening, where the midweek brasserie menu offered plenty of choice.
Families can also take advantage of a Wednesday offer which sees kids eat free - albeit from a limited and very Anglicised children’s menu.
To kick off, we opted for Crémant de Loire baked camembert, served with locally baked bread (£7.50) and chicken liver paté with toast and red onion marmalade (£7.25). Both were excellent and dispatched in quick fashion.
When it came to mains, our table went for the eight-hour slow braised beef bourguignon with pommé puree and seasonal vegetables (£16.95). The meat was dark, unctuous and simply melted in the mouth.
My eye was taken by the roasted pork fillet, pommé puree, baby apples and black pudding crumb (£17).
These are classic combinations and the soft meat went beautifully with the sweet fruit, cut through by the crisp and salty black pudding.
The French are well known as red-blooded carnivores, with a single dish like cassoulet containing an entire butcher’s shop of meat. But vegetarians will definitely enjoy the pan fried gnocchi served with spinach, cherry tomatoes, dressed with basil pesto & parmesan (£15) which was bursting with Mediterranean flavours.
The sweets, or boudoir bon bons as the menu described them, didn’t disappoint either. The vanilla crème bruleé (£6.75 ) was heavenly - rich and moreish, although the homemade shortbread which came with it could have been crisper.
While the lemon posset with raspberry sorbet and mini meringues (£7) was bursting with clean fruit flavours and rounded off the meal perfectly.
With its chic decor and lovely ambience, it’s well worth making friends with MesAmis.
Our rating: 9/10
To book, call 01246 768789 or visit Maison Mesamis