A nation less obsessed with stamping out words like “weekend” “chatter” and “email” might be able to look beyond its navel and applaud the work of Karl O’Hanlon who has single handed restored this tragic run down chateau into a top flight tourist destination.
Even the UK would pause over an OBE – but France would never consider a mere foreigner for a “Legion d’Honneur” – too busy trying to throw out the dreaded English words.
Which is why we should celebrate Karl and his achievement. This chateau was a disregarded gem in l’Herault – mouldering and falling down. Karl though, had the vision to see something special and different and he has created one of the great international destinations in this otherwise somewhat basic departement when it comes to panache.
Having created this superb conversion into flats and residences Karl realised there was need for a focus and of course – a restaurant. Also a great resource for visitors who have driven for miles (most of the other guests were from the UK) who more than anything else in the world wanted a good meal before turning in.
Chateau Les Carrases – in the countryside outside Capestang cried out to be a destination for fine eating.
We can report – that is exactly what the Chateau now offers.
You arrive in front of the “grand chateau” and step into a world of chic and civilised living.
An old storage barn transformed – chic but not “in your face”, into a fine and delightful place.
It is family friendly with a good menu, ( chips and hamburgers for the table next to us) and an extensive but carefully selected wine list.
Though we had children next to us the spaciousness of the restaurant is such that you have the space to be un-crowded and on your own.
The bi-lingual staff are helpful and serve and advise with charm.(WoW liked very much the response to “we would like some water”? No upselling of the more expensive bottled water nonsense – but “would that be tap water Sir”?)
Bravo and even more bravo!
Did we say chic – well yes it is but not in a way which intimidates.
The food was fresh, the cooking superb and the presentation just fine.
The dining room is spacious and comfortable – though the music was a little weird (why do we need a really awful soundtrack wherever we go nowadays?).
Ah well a small price to enjoy the ambience of this superb space.
The service is top flight and unobtrusive and if you ask, there is a niche in the round tower for a party of 6 if you want your own show.
Attentive service is that bit extra you like when you take a premium meal and so when the head waiter carefully explained the wine he thought best to go with the beef was not quite what he would recommend – and brought a more suitable bottle.
He made a better choice than WoW and we thank him for his professionalism.
It is a lovely place to visit on an Autumn evening but we suspect it would be even more special for a summer lunch after a swim in the pool and a walk around the gardens.
Review taken from http://www.heraultwhatson.info/
To book accommodation to visit this lovely restaurant, visit www.southfranceholidayvillas.co.uk