If you’re meandering the quirky market town of Totnes, be sure to seek out Mon Oncle Jean. This charming eatery, located on quaint Ticklemore Street, has made its mark on the town’s bountiful dining scene thanks to its seamless blend of first-class cuisine, impeccable service and a delightful setting.
We visited on a rainy winter’s evening and sought refuge inside the cosy restaurant. Flickering candles, soft Mediterranean music and a delightfully laid-back ambience ensured we felt a world away from the gloomy weather. We sipped fruity merlot while perusing the menu, which was concise yet offered a pleasing number of tempting options. It’s always a good indicator of the quality of the food when all conversation halts as the dishes arrive. As I lifted the lid on my mussels à la carbonara, I was met with mouth-watering aromas and a generous portion of what was easily the some of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted. My companion was equally impressed with his chicken liver parfait and homemade chutney, which he declared satisfying in every sense.
As a Devonian I can’t resist the offer of a scone, and so plumped for a delectable main course of grilled goat’s cheese atop a sunblushed tomato and thyme scone accompanied by coarse fig jam, ratatouille, black olives and rocket. Each mouthful was a symphony of Mediterranean flavours that left a lasting impression. My partner enthused over his trio of duck, comprising confit duck leg, sublimely tender roasted breast, and flavoursome liver with chestnut stuffing, gratin Dauphinoise and an orange and Port jus. Head chef and owner Philippe sources the best-quality ingredients he can find for his ever-changing menu, so you can rest assured that your duck is the finest Creedy Carver from nearby, and the goat’s cheese is sourced from his native France. To finish our meal we indulged in tarte Tatin with Earl Grey ice cream, and far Breton aux pruneaux – a classic Britanny prune cake served with crème anglaise.
We’ll certainly be returning to sample the delicious lunch offering, which features the likes of croque monsieur, galettes and homemade cream tea. When the weather is fair, I can think of no better spot for a relaxed meal than Mon Oncle Jean’s charming courtyard.