Cueillette (Altillac)

© Cueillette

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Somewhere between the Lot and Corrèze departments, Oscar Garcia (ex-Maison d’Uzès and Bonbonne in Toulouse) and his partner Julie Pons set up shop in a 19th-century manor overlooking the Dordogne Valley. Their particular strengths? A sleek, luminous space designed by the Toulouse-based interior designer Emmanuel Delayre, their infectious energy, plus a fabulous ethically- and locally-sourced pantry (homegrown fruits and vegetables, trout from the Pisciculture La Fialicie, meats from Atelier Cowrrézien). The day we went for lunch, we opted for the very reasonably priced €35 set menu, featuring: an incredible tomato gazpacho with cucumber rounds marinated in olive oil and watermelon hidden under a scoop of basil sorbet, plus a chili tuile (made from homegrown chilies), sun-dried tomato focaccia, sunflower seeds and blossoms; a jubilatory trout steak cooked in carrot top butter, sprinkled with trout roe, and tucked up against eggplant caviar, pickled red onions and a redcurrant-caper sauce vierge; before the understated sweetness of the desserts made by Moulaye Fanny (ex-Park Hyatt in Paris), like the apricot smoked over rosemary and paired with rosemary honey ice cream, apricot jelly, wild strawberries, a pistachio biscuit and a crispy tuile. // Gérard Roubeix 

FEELING THIRSTY? : Nothing but clean wines: Serpent à Plumes, a Cahors from the Domaine La Calmette (€10 a glass), Sans Bois Ni Loi, a dry Bergerac from Auroux (€35 a bottle), Les Bois des Merveilles, a Minervois from Senat (€60), Mauzac Nature, a sparkling wine from Plageoles (€38).  
PRICE: : Set menus €35 (lunch from Wednesday to Friday) and €75. 

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