Restaurant Annette (La Rochelle)

© Annette

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Back from the port of Amsterdam, where she pampered bellies at Numa Muller’s restaurant Arles, Audrey Ravard has gotten back in the saddle with this cheeky bistro on a cobblestoned street (lots of blonde wood, olive green paneling, a terrace under the covered awning), setting off at a gallop under the alias of her beloved grandmother Annette. It’s a winning return, especially since English chef Dale Deakin (they clicked in the kitchens of Arles) is second to none when it comes to peppering the set menu with modern pairings. Like the ones we had the day we went for lunch: thinly sliced veal rump under an atomic tonnato sauce that combined a smoked mackerel emulsion, fried capers, pickled mustard seeds and dill oil; meagre fillet cleverly combined with roasted fennel, toasted hazelnuts, thinly sliced candied orange peel and saffron-infused fish fumet; then a vanilla panna cotta topped with stewed rhubarb, a few fresh raspberries and a subtle gin granita, to round out the meal on a fresh note. // Pica Bidon 

FEELING THIRSTY? : Wines that’ll have your head spinning: a Touraine sauvignon from Mikaël Bouges (€7 a glass), a sparkling white Saumur from the Domaine de La Paleine (€29 a bottle) or a Côte-de-Beaune red from the Domaine Jean Féry & Fils (€52). Unless you’d rather opt for a pineau from Fanny Fougerat (€7.50 a glass) or an espresso martini (€11). 
PRICE: : Set menu €22 (lunch), à la carte €45-59 (dinner). 

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