restaurant

El Almacèn

El Almacèn (Cirès)

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After years of working in Paris, Argentine chef Juan Ignacio de Benedetto (ex-Charbon Rouge) and his partner Anne Moussay heeded the call of the wild and moved to a small mountain village in the Pyrenees, tucked away in the Oueil Valley. They got their hands on a stone and wood chalet with a bric-a-brac dining room and an open kitchen, where the Latino chef makes the embers sing with local ingredients – lamb from Mayrègne, trout from Oô, vegetables from Galié… For us, the day we went for lunch, the four-course menu (€37) included: a delightful kohrabi dish, shaved razor-thin on the mandolin and sliced into quarters, alongside mushrooms, parsnip cream and nettle powder; a lovely trout steak with leeks, multicolored carrots, plus quinoa with parsley, garlic and hemp seeds; a generous portion of lamb saddle cooked medium-rare and served with a volcanic chimichurri sauce, Beluga lentils, and thinly sliced turnips with turmeric and lemon zest; before the memorable dessert, a dark chocolate ganache duo – one infused with tobacco, the other intensified by whiskey, paired with a crispy buckwheat biscuit and toasted buckwheat seeds! // P.L.

FEELING THIRSTY? Southern wines: an organic red Faugères from the Domaine Ollier Taillefer (€5 a glass), a Béarn white from the Domaine du Moncaut (€19 a bottle), a Gaillac red from the Château Palvié (€33)…

PRICE: Menu €35 to €50, kids’ menu €10.

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