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I’m delighted to welcome a guest blogger to chaumierelesiris today. You may remember that we have been sampling the Michelin restaurants of Upper Normandy. We recently shared a meal with my parents at Gill in Rouen, and I asked my mother–a veteran of many of France’s top restaurants–to review the evening.

Gill is the flagship restaurant of chef Giles Tournadre, the most famous of Normandy’s many famous chefs. Tournadre has held two Michelin stars here since 1990. In recent years has has added to his empire a less formal annexe and a bistro in Rouen, as well as a restaurant in Japan. Has he over-extended the brand, or is the quality still there two decades on? Let’s find out.

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Those who use the Michelin red guide have an expectation that the food, service and environment of the hotel or restaurant will be as determined by its star rating and location. Extremely rarely have my husband and I been disappointed over the forty five years we have used the guides.

Gill, in the lovely city of Rouen, Normandy, is no exception. The food was delicious. My duck was sweet and so fresh, prepared in three ways, and the dessert, Millefeuille a La Minute, was a delicious contrast of textures. Others enjoyed the day’s starter, traditional escargots with garlic sauce, as well as sea bass pan-fried in cider, served with potato and onion marmalade and creamy Calvados foam, and a meringue cake desert filled with red fruit and basil sorbet.

Each course was beautifully presented, with “decoration” that enhanced the flavors of the preparation. Often the delicate placing of a small herb looked as if tweezers had been employed. There is a challenge to a home cook!

Gill has a lovely setting across the street from the Seine. Its building, however, is not particularly attractive. The interior is simply decorated with a monotone scheme, only occasionally interrupted by a small punch of strong color. Floral decoration is limited. The chairs are very comfortable.

The service is excellent. The chef went out of his way to prepare for me a simple seared foie gras rather than insisting that I try the foie gras dish that was on his menu. Whether trying to find a reservation which in our case was under a different name from the one we gave to the hostess, to advising about the menu, to crumbing the table, the staff managed everything perfectly.

There is no valet parking. The Friday night we dined, an opera was in production just down the road, and we struggled to find a spot to park the car in central Rouen (an underground municipal car park was the answer). That aside, Gill is a two starred Michelin restaurant and that says a lot. We look forward to our next meal there.

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