Brenti (Espelette)

© Brenti

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This is the story of French-Sardinian couple, Aurore Martinat, a former lawyer, and Matteo Giua, a globe-trotting chef who used to work at Anima in Paris. They set their sights on an old dive and renamed it Brenti (“belly” in Sardinian), which boasts original wooden rafters, a fireplace and modern chairs. What should you expect? A carefully-sourced, organic and local pantry (veal from the Belaun co-op in the Aldudes, vegetables from the Haitz Ondoa farm in Mendionde…) and Italian-Sardinian dishes. The other day at lunch, we began the meal with an imperial vitello tonnato (made with a subtle tuna sauce with capers and extra-virgin olive oil from Umbria); followed by an incredible risotto al verde combining carnaroli rice, zucchini, peas, basil-rich pesto, Parmesan and fresh tarragon; before a classic and not-overly-sweet tiramisu (sponge cake macerated in carefully-dosed espresso, mascarpone cream, chocolate shavings). And if you’re in the mood for tapas? There’s crostini with butter and bottarga from Giovanni Spanu; gran culatta ham from La Casa Graziano and Kintoa pork salami. // Gérard Roubeix 

FEELING THIRSTY? Clean French and Italian wines: an elegant red Bracchetto from Cascina San Michele in Piedmont (€9 a glass), Les Chaillaux, a Sancerre white from the Domaine Fouassier (€41 a bottle), El Pelut, a Côtes-Catalanes red from the Domaine du Lendemain (€28). 
PRICE: Menus €24-28 (weekday lunch), à la carte €41-59 (dinner), tapas €5-12. 

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