They say good things come in small packages, they say it’s the little things that one appreciates, but enough about the owner. The newest addition to Tignes’ eateries is small but perfectly formed and named, astonishingly enough, due to its location amongst the restaurants at the bottom of the Tufs chairlift over in Val Claret. This fresh new cafe is the venture of Lou, owner of Blue Note with her brother Matt for 13 years, and fiancé Ryan, a badass mountain man, who ran the Planks kitchen in Tignes last year and is now heading up the cooking department of The Corner.
It’s tough to embark on something new out here, especially when it comes to standing out from a crowded market of lunchtime eateries. But this powerhouse duo have managed it, and done it with flair. From the homely decor to the mouth watering meals, they have created somewhere perfect for a mid-ski stop off that is sure to be a hit with Val d’Iserians taking the trip to Tignes for the day.
We battled through a blizzard to get to Lou and Ryan’s opening trial day and were met by a gorgeously warm ambiance and an even more inviting scent of sizzling bacon and fresh coffee. The vibe is chilled and the menu reflects that with hearty hashes, bacon butties and crumbly pies. In other words, exactly the kind of tummy warming sustenance you fancy after a morning shredding the hill. On sunny days, the outdoor seating will be a complete suntrap and the fresh, fruit filled smoothies will serve as a perfect pick me up for flagging legs.
I chose the vegetarian hash and was met with a mountain of deliciousness. Meanwhile Sam, who hadn’t got the memo about eating at The Corner and so foolishly arrived on a stomach full of eggs, went for the simple, but classic, bacon buttie. Conversation was replaced by happy, satisfied smiles and comfort food was washed down with damn fine coffee. All in all, a thoroughly delightful experience. We’ll be back! Especially for the banoffee pie, which wasn’t yet available, but definitely caught our eye.
Afterwards we caught up with Lou to find out how things have been going their end.
What made you want to open a restaurant?
We fancied a change. Plus Ryan is a banging chef and neither of us wanted to work nights anymore.
What has been the best and worst thing about starting this new venture?
Worst was waiting on banks and French bureaucracy, hence opening in January. The best bit is working with Ryan and Ferg but I’ll definitely miss working with my brother and of course, Al.
Favourite thing on the menu?
Shakshuka - our spicy baked egg dish. It’s to die for.
Could banoffee pie perhaps be replacing wedding cake on the big day?
Ha. Yes. Although the big day depends on if me and Ry don’t kill each other this winter!
Tell us about the coffee, it was absolutely perfect!
The bloody grind ratio! I never knew it was such a science. We spent 2 days learning about extraction and brew times. I can’t believe it took 2 days to learn how to make an espresso! But I am very glad to hear it was all worth it. We’ve had really good feedback.
How did you guys put together the menu?
We spent the whole summer having cook offs and taste tests. The end result is a mix of ready to go tasty treats and made to order options, which is vital because in a tiny cafe, you need quick options. Some things are there by popular demand and Emma Spruce wouldn’t let us drop the Chilli Veggie Pie!
Who took the lead on the decor?
I decided on most of the design but Ryan was the best painter/decorator ever and Ferg is a true handyman. We still have lots to put up on the walls but the retro coffee machine led the look.
What are you most excited about?
Finally bringing Cornish pasties to the Alps!
When will you be opening?
Friday 11th - tomorrow!! Shit!! We still have no plates. But big thanks to all our tradesmen who nailed the build and Pat Rossi for his calm amazing finishing stint.
Good Luck with everything Lou and Ryan. We’ll be back soon.