Emma’s Spare Tyre Tummy Award Gets Spicy

Here’s one I took earlier while it was still under construction

My dear old Oscar remembers when you could drive your Morris Minor up to the stones at Stonehenge, get out your picnic and lean back against against a priceless megalith. Not even a wandering Chinese neo-pagan clutching a crystal key ring, druid mouse mat or coffee table book of mystic spells broke the calm. These days armies of security guards and scientists would have you hauled away to the visitor centre and make you pay £13.90p to see it from a distance. Ah, such is the advance of Heritage. Sadly, the pressure of modern day tourism would crush the whole place to sand. Beats me why they allow all this valuable stuff to stay outdoors.

Fame at last

Over the week-end I headed for that area of Wiltshire on our tandem. We made it as far as the town of Amesbury which is the home town of the stone circle. We decided to spend our ancient monument money on a trip to the local tandoori restaurant. We were in for a feast of truly pagan lip smacking scrumptiousness. 

While Oscar refitted a mudguard I popped in to make a booking. On arrival my name was on the table on a cute label. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I felt like the  poor girl mistaken for the Honorable Lady Mountshaft in some kind of romance novel.

Romantic lamb balti

Since I had forgotten my specs and couldn’t read the menu, I asked the proprietor to make a recommendation. Mr Burhan Uddin, was most helpful and charming. He suggested the lamb shank balti. Oscar had the shaslik chicken tandoori. We shared naan bread and pilau rice, all aided by a very acceptable Australian Merlot house wine. The food was superb.

A feast awaits you

The service was friendly and efficient. The menu is almost a fantasy feast with items such as venison sagwalla, duck tikka massala and lobster pepper fry. Believe me, this is premier league cuisine but without the prices. The restaurant itself is unpretentious but with a comfortable ambiance. I have great pleasure in awarding the full five stars of the Emma spare tyre tummy award to Tandoori Nights of Amesbury, Wiltshire,UK.

If you’re coming this way to see the mysterious Stonehenge, get yourself to the town and treat yourself to a  fantastic curry experience. Oscar’s theory is that the fourth megalith lines up the yuletide midnight moonbeam with the front entrance. Archaeologists and mystics are working on it. 

Emma Thinx:  When did the prehistoric period begin?

Emma’s Spare Tyre Tummy Award goes to Port D’Envaux

There’s nothing flash but there’s a flood of flavour

Astonishing things still happen in this world. By the number of views on my spare tyre tummy restaurant awards blogs, I am now a serious rival to Michelin. Well – like me they are round,bouncy, have deep flexible grooves and take a lot of wear.

There is a newly opened restaurant in the village of Port d’Envaux, Charente-Maritime. It is called L’Auberge de la Charente and that is exactly what it is. It is the inn by the river. Somehow rivers draw us to them don’t they. The flow of time has always swept the salt of sea up to the purifying skies and on to the fall of rain as we spend our mortal lives in the mysteries of saline lust and pure conscience. But what a menu eh?

A chew with a view. 

If I seem a bit poetic that is because I’m recalling the food. Between us we had skate wings and filet de boeuf. There was a starter of salad and a dessert of chocolate sponge. It was less that £20. 

Everything was beautifully cooked and tasted of itself. Yes, of itself because it was top quality produce. The Auberge de la Charente only opened in July and was running a small menu. Believe me – small is beautiful.  Port d’Envaux is not a tourist trap. Most folk in the restaurant and on the nearby river beach are French. Well, except for the eccentric English romantic novelist riding about on a tandem with a poet. 

If I pose with my healthy bike the calories don’t count

I am thrilled to give my five star spare tyre award to L’Auberge de la Charente, Rue des Pecheurs, Port D’envaux, 17350, France. The premises allows fine views of the river and has a lovely local ambience. If you’re a francophile looking for France, then this is a corner of France looking for you. If you’re coming next year start thinking yourself  to walk slow, shrug big, taste long, drink deep and sleep late. Let the river flow on and do the work of time for you. It has far more experience.

Emma Thinx: The wider the menu the more the regret.