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The story behind chef Amélie Darvas and sommelier Gaby Benicio reads like a wonderful fairytale. It all began in the 2010s at their superb Parisian bistro Haï Kaï, before continuing at this splendid 17th-century presbytery in the Hérault department, with incredible panoramic views of the Gorges de la Peyne. In a space combining blonde hardwood floors and velvet chairs, the other day at lunch Amélie’s locavore menu sent us into ecstasies: striking amuse-bouches to kick things off – fried zucchini blossoms from the garden, mini puffed pizzas with goat cheese and piquillo peppers, beetroot-redcurrant maki, boudin noir with Banka trout roe…; followed by magical brioche French toast cooked in an eel-infused milk; a braised lettuce heart doused in a sublime fresh almond milk, with a goat cheese gratin top and a dash of fig leaf oil; an intriguing fried egg and diced zucchini casserole electrified with a carrot/turmeric jus; a goat cheese and artichoke ravioli plunged into a monastic vin jaune broth; leerfish fillet smoked over lavender, which might have been a bit too intense; a dry-aged steak served with an incredibly full-bodied jus de viande and cinnamon-spiced spinach; before a marigold and almond milk floating island, then some cheeky cotton candy sprinkled with lime zest and grated Timut pepper to end the meal! // G.LeP.

FEELING THIRSTY? Gaby has a 700-strong selection of wines: an Aude Carignan from the Domaine Balansa (€9 a glass), a Beaujolais-Villages red from Jean-Claude Lapalu (€38 a bottle), a Jura Poulsard from the Domaine de la Pinte (€50)…

PRICE: Menus €55 (lunch) and €89 (dinner).

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