Things of Interest

Restaurant Review

Name of restaurant: 

LE HANOI, Rue des Chapeliers, 

50300, Avranches

Tel:  02 33 604673

Opening hours: 

Tuesday – Sunday: 12–1:30pm and 7–9pm.

Date of review: 24 May 2022 

Star rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

The Hanoi restaurant attracted us online at Trip Advisor by its authentic, cosy look and very good recent reviews, promising “dishes bright, delicious and very reasonably priced”. The telephone booking was swift and easy with a very friendly staff member who also spoke some English.

We arrived at 7.30pm and were invited to choose a table.  Other diners began to arrive after us. First impressions were of modern Chinese style décor in red and black with low level lighting and Asian style background music; possibly rather dark for a sunny summer’s evening. The premises were clean and comfortable. 

Menus were brought and the drinks order taken within the first 5 minutes.  We went for Tsing Tao Chinese beer and San Pellegrino fizzy water. From the menu we decided to share the Assortiments de hors d’oeuvres: crevettes en beignet, croustillants au crabe, papillotes de crevettes, samosa. 

These seafood delicacies arrived some 20 minutes after ordering:  they were very tasty and nicely presented. 

For main course, Martin chose Canard Laqué  – Cantonese style Duck à l’orange  with fried rice.  The sauce was very piquant and more-ish and the duck slices were tender. Portion size was generous.  We used chop sticks but knife and fork provided.

I chose Canard aux pousses de bamboo et champignons noirs with plain boiled rice: a ‘comfort food’ choice with good mix of duck and vegetables but a little bland so soy sauce was requested. Portion size was fairly generous for a small appetite. 

For dessert we had ice-cream coupes:  my Café Liegeois was a ‘knickerbocker glory’ of coffee, cream and ice cream whilst Martin’s Coupe Hanoi was a deliciously exotic ‘bright’ confection of pineapple sorbet and ice cream.

Total bill came to just shy of 70 €.  Le Hanoi is a lovely little restaurant in a downtown location of Avranches with easy parking. The cuisine is not exceptional but the dishes are ‘authentic’, attractively presented, piping hot, tasty and very reasonably priced. The service was attentive but not intrusive. We enjoyed our meal.  

Le Hanoi also offers an online takeaway service which seemed to be popular. You can Google the website le Hanoi Avranches for more details.

 

Shan Walker

Victoria Sponge

Another ‘works every time’ is Victoria Sponge by Mary Berry.

In a bowl put

2 eggs (these first)

178 gm SR flour,

178 gm margarine

178 gm sugar.

Whisk until just incorporated, then STOP. This is important as it isn’t the usual whisk

Until creamy cake.

Bake in 2 sandwich tins at 180 degree for 17 mins.

Again check with a  skewer.

Raspberry jam is the correct filling for this cake.

 

Carole Foster

Places of Interest

In early June I had a lovely afternoon with Viv at the ruins of Abbey Savigny Le Vieux. 

A place I’d been meaning to go to for a while. 

It was a surprise as I had expected a few ruined walls, but the footprint of the Abbey was marked out, with lots of plaques giving its history.

It has a very calm atmosphere, and the only sound we could here were the birds.

Built in the 11th Century it initially housed Benedictines, and by 1150 was Cistercian, who had Royal protection. In the mid 16th Century the Abbey was pillaged and partly burned by Calvinists, but twenty four monks remained until the Revolution reduced it to a heap of ruins.

It was sold as a National Asset during the Revolution and became a stone quarry. Much of the stone was stolen and many houses in the surrounding area of built of this stone. It is now classed as an Historic Monument and is a perfect place for a quiet walk and picnic.

A part of the Abbey that remains is the ‘St. Louis’ door, giving an insight to its grandeur.

 

Carole Foster

Book Discussion Group

Having agreed on a format for the meetings, the first proper get-together involved six of us each choosing one or two books to recommend along with a short reading, followed by a discussion about each in an informal setting, taking turns to host the meetings.

The books discussed this month were on a wide variety of subjects starting with Enzo the dog re-counting his and his family’s lives together, an involved and moving tail of the relationship between family and pet from the dog’s point of view. Garth Stein, ‘The art of racing in the rain’.

After this was a book set in Russia by the author of ‘Gorky Park’ Martin Cruz Smith. This novel was set in Tokyo beginning in the nineteen twenties up to just before the bombing of Pearl Harbour and follows the story of Harry, the son of American missionaries brought up there trying to survive  the complexities of the Japanese culture, ‘Tokyo Station’.

Another author recommended was Stella Gibbons, born in 1902 who worked as a journalist before writing prolifically from the 1930’s onwards. Her most popular book being ‘Cold comfort farm’ a comic story of a young lady’s relocation from bustling London after the death of her parents to the home of her country cousins buried deep in the Sussex countryside on a run-down decaying farm. A clever and amusing romp among the stables and haystacks with delightfully written characters at every turn.

Next up was a ‘What if’ story creating an alternative world where JFK wasn’t assassinated…..What would our world be like had he lived? Fall deep into a dark conspiracy as you follow the story of one bullet that missed, one that killed and one that changed the world. ‘3 bullets’ by R.J Ellory.

Followed by a dark historical account set against the backdrop of the second Boer war at the turn of the twentieth century came next. A story of British run ‘concentration camps’ in Lesoto, (a landlocked kingdom surrounded on all sides by South Africa) built specifically to imprison the displaced Boer families whose land they were pillaging.  a particularly shameful and shady period of time in the history of  British overseas ‘interests’. ’The Undesirables’ by Dave Boling who also wrote a detailed historical novel about the Spanish civil war- ‘Guernica’

The next was a series of books in the forensic mystery solving genre, Ellie Griffiths ‘Dr Ruth Galloway’series, for those who have an interest in the ‘bones’ of a good story. 

Have you seen ‘Vera’ and ‘Shetland’ on the tv? Ann Cleves wrote the novels behind the series, which as usual are much more detailed than the series and allow for much deeper character development while delving into complexities of the criminal mind and the methods of the detectives who seek to solve the crimes.

The final choice was ‘Pied Piper’ by Neville Chute, famous for his war time survival saga, ‘A town like Alice’.  In this book John Howards fishing holiday in France is rudely interrupted when the Nazis invade and he must try to escape back to England, taking with him the children of his friends who stay behind to help in the allied defence. In the midst of the conflict on the convoluted path back home he manages to collect five more waifs and strays, constantly beset by danger but heroically protecting his young charges. A war time story with a difference!

 I hope you like our selection for this this month and manage to track down one or two that take your fancy,

Julie Turpin

Walking Group

N.B.This walk was supposed to be to the cascades but we decided to change the venue due to inclement weather and also the cascades is a beautiful place made spectacular by a little sunshine, so it’s postponed until next month in the hope of more summery weather.

     So, five slightly disappointed walkers gathered at the carpark at the top of the hill to explore the surrounding hill and see the little chapel and the view over the bay of Mont st Michel.

     Five of us plus Freckels set of to find the site of the heroic stand of the 30th battalion of American troops against German tanks in August 1944.This area very close to the cliffs is now heavily wooded but some artifacts can still be seen such as the anchors for a communications post and a cement water tank in among the trees and natural outcrops of rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We reached the little chapel, perched 323m high upon the granite rock of Monjoie hill, so-called because pilgrims often had their first view of mont st Michel from here and expressed their joy at the sight. We  climbed the steps to appreciate the panoramic views across the bay the decorated table pointing us in the direction of landmarks and towns in the area and we had a very murky sighting of the said mont in the distance.

 

 

 

      There have been written accounts of pagan worship in distant history but the first reliable account of a permanent structure was when Marie de Montpensier succeeded her father and became Countess of Mortain, duchess of Chatellerault, Montpensier and Saint-Fergau in 1608 and during a tour of her lands she witnessed the remarkable view across the bay and was impressed enough to  pay for the first chapel to be built on the 16 July 1613.

 

We returned to the carpark by an alternative route below the wood which turned out to be a ‘Fitness trail’. I admit the most use we got out of it was to sit for a rest on the hurdles!

 

So todays walk turned out to be a lot less strenuous than was anticipated and was a pleasant stroll rather than a proper walk, never the less we still felt the need for a little light refreshment and repaired to l’Akwa bar (the only one open on Sunday afternoon!) in Mortain where the sun at last shone on us and our beer for a while.

 

Julie Turpin

 

If you would like to join us on future walks please email Julie on   Julie@colin-turpin.com or on the AFACTP Whatsapp group, everyone is welcome.