Maison Ailhon

Restaurant Maison Ailhon (Ailhon)

© Atelier Hourra

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Oh, oh, oh! It’s oh so good in Ailhon! Or rather, under the plane trees on Place de l’Église to be precise, where around 30 guests grab their cutlery for a mind-blowing tour of the vegetable garden, led by Lucie Soerensen and Clément Guernalec – who both did stints at Septime and Auberge de Chassignolles, before setting up shop in this small Ardèche village. In the shade of their Maison with its azure blue shutters, the chef transforms the best of nature’s bounty, like the tomato water made using the tastebud-tickling toms from the garden. What came after? Butter onions with chili oil perfectly balanced with sauce matelote; some serious roasted eggplant; spectacular duck neck stuffed with figs and duck leg meat, cut maki style and served with the head – risky, but full of panache; more reassuring nectarine slices and raspberries atop stewed apricot and with fig leaf ice cream on the side, before going to sleep soundly in one of the guest rooms. And the pair still have more up their sleeves, since they plan to turn the adjoining house into a buvette-style watering hole… Watch this space! // Henri Depecker

FEELING THIRSTY? Bottles from the area and a little further away, all at mates rates: whites like Les Deux Terres (€20 a bottle) or Le Vin des Pauzes (€33), plus vintage Luxe Communal from Gard local Paul Chabal (€29).

PRICE: Lunch menu €25, dinner €42 (four or five courses).

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