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Loft Café, Perpignan
reviewed by Louise Sayers
Perpignanais by birth, english speaker and self-confessed Anglophile, the charming owner of the recently opened Loft Café, Jean-Michel Dutois, places his focus firmly on quality food, impeccable service and creating a convivial friendly atmosphere.
Located in Perpignan old town, slap bang in front of the cathedral, Loft is the only bar/ restaurant offering alfresco dining in the square. The interior is crisp, clean and stylish with an attractive bar, contemporary furniture and recent artwork adorning the walls.
There are diðerent menus at Loft for lunch and dinner. The lunch menu featured salads, pizzas, pasta, cold plates and two specials, which change daily, one meat (11 euros) and one fish (13 euros). The meat dish was spatchcocked chicken in a brandy cream sauce served with mashed potatoes and spinach and the fish a ‘Parillade’, mixed seafood platter with rice. Both were beautifully presented and declared delicious by my fellow diners I went for a pizza which was crisp of base and generous of topping – as a pizza should be.
The wine list is a work in progress with a large selection of mostly local wines at present, but Jean-Michel will be expanding his list of new world wines in the coming months.
There is a good choice of desserts with classics such as tarte tatin, lemon meringue pie and fig tart, as well as lighter choices such as fromage blanc. We chocoholics all sampled the warm brownies, unanimously enjoyed and not too rich and cloying, as they so often are.
The dinner menu offers the choice between tapas, plates of charcuterie specially sourced from 3 different regions of Spain, or an à la carte menu. The tapas are substantial dishes and most with a lovely twist on the traditional, such as prawns with mango salsa and ginger confit, or beef with sweet and sour peanut sauce.
The à la carte menu changes monthly. At present, the starters are a selection of salads priced from 8 to 11 euros, or the tapas menu. Main courses start at 17.90 euros and are imaginative and enticing, such as tenderloin of pork with a gin reduction and winter vegetables or roasted and sliced John Dory with beurre blanc and confit tomatoes with basil.
If you don’t want lunch or dinner, how about morning coffee and a read of the paper in a relaxing environment, or afternoon tea and a crêpe or something from the dessert menu? In the evenings, the after- work crowd congregate for an apéro at the bar, and on Thursday nights, Loft is a magnet for lovers of live music with bands playing jazz, blues and bossa nova.
This is Jean-Michel’s first foray into the restaurant business and we all know just how hard it is setting up a new venture in the current climate. I urge you to support him and drop by for a coffee, afternoon tea, lunch, an apéro or dinner. You will certainly be assured of a very warm welcome.
Mondays to Wednesdays non-stop from 8.45am to 8pm
Thursdays to Saturdays non-stop from 8.45am to midnight/1am
Closed on Sundays
Lunch is served from midday to 2.30pm and dinner from 7-10pm
2 Rue Fontfroide
04 68 66 88 74