Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hokkaido Revisit 2017 三回目の北海道の旅 - Blanc Rouge ブラン・ルージュ

Visited 14.10.2017 (Sat)

Patchwork Road again. This is my second time visiting Patchwork Road パッチワークロード after a five years hiatus. On my first trip to Hokkaido in summer, I hired a sightseeing taxi to cover the less accessible sightseeing spots which included Patchwork Road. At that point of time, I did not pay much attention to the terrain since I was riding comfortably in a car and was trying to identify the famous trees which can be seen along the Patchwork Road. This time round, I made use of a battery operated bicycle rented from a shop near Biei JR Station to revisit Patchwork Road and the journey proved to be much more challenging than I perceived. I was totally famished and exhausted after a two hours ride covering Ken and Mary tree, Seven Stars tree, Parent and Child trees and Hokusei no oka Observatory Park. Original plan was to have lunch at Bi.ble, a fine dining restaurant opened in 2014 by the same people who created Asperges (located at Biei Senka). Unfortunately, Bi.ble was fully booked during the lunch hour. Before I set off for Patchwork Road, I seek the opinion of the staff at the tourist information center near Biei JR Station on where I could drop by for lunch around Patchwork Road. Blanc Rouge ブラン・ルージュ, which located about 800 m away from Hokusei no oka Observatory Park, was one of the restaurants recommended by her. Made my way to the restaurant as it was time for lunch after visiting Hokusei no oka Observatory Park.  

Fairytale. Parked my bicycle at the open compound which Blanc Rouge shared with Potato Village, one of the many pensions (a type of guesthouse) nested in this countryside area. Followed the sign board and came to this country house well hidden in a mini forest. With the surroundings decorated by autumn foliage during my visit, it felt very surreal, just like a scene depicted in a fairytale story book. Upon entering the house, guests are instantly embraced by a homely and cosy atmosphere. Adore the overall woodsy simplistic design, country style furnishing and decoration and was intrigued by the fire place and its chimney that leads the exhaust to the top of the house (something that we do not get to see back at home). Even the cover of the menu is beautifully wrapped with floral cloth and a picture made up of scrap fabrics sewn on the front. When I reached at around 12.30 pm, there were only a few tables of diners (spotted two Singaporeans having their lunch here!) and I was able to get a seat immediately.

Comfort food. Blanc Rouge's signature are beef stew ビーフシチュー and chicken simmered with cabbage 若鶏のキャベツ煮, and both are home cooked type of comfort food which most people can resonate with. Ordered the former and upgraded it into a set which included salad and an option of either bun or rice. Beef is cut into cubes and cooked together with vegetables and red wine over several hours until the meat become tenderised and a dark brown sauce (similar to that of demi glace sauce) with thick consistency is obtained. Upon order, the beef stew is served piping hot in a ceramic casserole dish and the umami aroma which was continuously emerging from the food hits me immediately. Tastewise, the meat was cooked to perfection - the right meltingly tender texture and I love the flavourful gravy which is concentrated with savory beef essence and sweetness of vegetables. I believe every household has their very own recipe of beef stew which is derived after numerous tries and multiple tweaks along the way. I am delighted to say that Blanc Rouge's version was well balanced in terms of taste and was able to satisfy my fussy palate.

This lunch outing has healed my empty stomach and restored my energy to make the return trip to Biei JR Station!


Blanc Rouge ブラン・ルージュ
〒071-0218 北海道上川郡美瑛町大村村山
Opening hours:
- July and August: 1100 - 1930 hrs
- Others: 1100 - 1630 hrs
- Closed on Thursdays.

How to get there? 

(1) By rental bicycle, it is about 2 km away from Biei JR Station.

(2) By foot, it is about 800 m away from Hokusei no oka Observatory Park.

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