Relais de la Vallée

© Relais de la Vallée

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Not only is Ambialet a village sitting between a rock and a river, it’s also home to a small temple to bistronomy. Running things is Dijon-native Caroline Blau (ex-Maison Plisson in Paris) and local kid Tommy Medalle, who are reviving the valley at their cozy space that feels a bit like a British pub – an ornate wood bar, beer on tap, rustic furniture, a lounge corner with tartan fabric. It’s all made even better at lunch and dinner by the impeccable little plates from the chef, who takes her inspiration from the seasons and a desire to provide comforting meals. The day we went for lunch: satisfying pistou soup; panisses with aioli and black olive caramel; a lively salmon tartare paired with vinegary crispy rice; gourmet chorizo tucked into some sunny eggplant caviar with cherry tomatoes; and for dessert, a chocolate and peanut butter cookie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, as hearty as it was addictive, or a graceful poached nectarine with a voluptuous rice pudding emulsion and dulce de leche infused with sweet clover. // Tsampa 

FEELING THIRSTY? : A short, inspired selection of natural wines, whose prices will make you want to ditch the car and walk home: a Gaillac from the Domaine Philémon available in all three colors (€3 a glass), Bloom, a Rhone white from Le Vin des Potes (€18 a bottle), Anthocyanes, a Gaillac red produced by Damien Bonnet (€29)… 
PRICE: : Set menu €13 (weekday lunch), plates €5-13. 

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