Best sophistroquet of 2018
In their handsome, sophisticated bistro (exposed stone walls, dim lighting, an immense ceramic barn, a library corner), chef Julien Lemarié and his wine accomplice Freddy welcome guests in for intimate meals. The night we went, seated near the nourishing forge, we could hear the dulcet tones of the chef sharpening his Japanese blades as the goods on the €70 menu washed us away: meagre sashimi plunged into a golden bonito dashi; egg yolk oozing into a divine fresh cut hay mousse; Barbarie duck flambéed on the barbecue, punched up with toasted poppy seeds and an incendiary ginger jus; John Dory in a verbena and buttermilk cream – served with a white Bellet from the Clos Saint-Vincent (€12 a glass); before the dreamy dessert, an herbaceous yomogi (a Japanese medical plant) sponge cake with charcoal meringue and a chocolate cream – perfect with a red Bergerac from the Château Lestignac (€7 a glass). Other highly drinkable options: a Czech Riesling from the Hort estate or a Sicilian red SP68 from Arianna Occhipinti (€40 each). Menus €30 (weekday lunch), €70 and €90 (dinner and Saturdays at lunch). // R.deC.