L'Oiseau sur sa Branche
At the foot of the Syncline of Sâol, a geological curiosity that draws in crowds to this small Provencal village, there’s a “Oiseau” from time immemorial (it first got its feathers under Napoléon III!) bringing the seasons to life. Running this bistro that feels like a spice shop (patterned floors, rows of tinned goods, hanging chilies and lilies), monsieur Thierry Chalançon and his white ponytail recite a Drôme-inspired song. The day we went for lunch, his €30 set menu was quite tasty: it began with an oil tasting (olive, walnut, hazelnut, canola) served with his country bread for dipping; followed by a farmer’s fresh cheese that was delicately breaded and served on a bed of beetroots cooked in salt; caillette made from “good pork,” spinach and chard in a deep red wine sauce, with mashed potatoes; before a sublime Valrhona chocolate lava cake. To help it all slide down: a Côtes-de-Provence rosé from Enzo Fayard (€4.20 a glass), Rouge Garance, a Rhone from Trintignant (€22.50 a bottle), etc. Set menus €16.50 to €22 (weekday lunch), menus €30-37 (lunch and dinner), à la carte €32-49. // G.D.