Restaurant Rafales (Royan)

© Rafales

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After letting the Tramontane wind blow through Le Tire-Bouchon for the last three decades in Toulouse, the Lagarde squadron is now flying the Royan flag…  If you feel like whistling a familiar tune, take a seat between the walls of this stunning cabinet of vino-sities, overhauled from the (oceanic) floors to the ceiling by Studio Flodeau (white and cobalt blue tie-dye walls, matching Babel D furniture, powder pink cushions). And while Philippe makes the wines dance, Laurence, heeding the call of the land of his youth, prepares plates that will blow you away: heady almond and Parmesan shortbread topped with goat cheese mousse, eggplant purée, grilled peppers from the Ferme de Brouage and sun-dried tomato paste; sweet potato gnocchi that melts on the tongue and artichokes bathed in a Parmesan espuma; unmissable braised beef chuck in a tomato and paprika bouillon, paired with new potatoes, whole carrots and carrot purée; before taking a trip into the land of sweets, with a white peach and lemon verbena compote hidden under dunes of golden crumble. // Pica Bidon 

FEELING THIRSTY? : No fewer than 150 young natural upshots – Frères de Terre, an Anjou grolleau produced by Cathy and Fred Roger (€6.50 a glass), a vouvray from Guillaume and Baptiste Frey (€29 a bottle) – and true natural numbers (a Bandol red from Jean-Christophe Comor, €49), along with some locally brewed beers from Les Brasseurs Cueilleurs (€5.60 for 330 ml of lager).  
PRICE: : Small plates €9, desserts €6.50.  

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