Le Saint Eutrope
Le Guide Fooding’s Best bistro 2015
Harry Lester and Ali Johnson have the gift of turning everything they touch into gold: the Auberge de Chassignolles in 2007 (handed over to Peter Taylor in 2014); the great bistro in old town Clermont that is the object of this review; and, even more recently, the next-door boutique that was transformed into a sublime cave à manger by the name of Quillosque… But let’s come back to Le Saint-Eutrope, winner of Le Guide Fooding’s Best Bistro of 2015 award. It is still one of our absolute favorite restaurants in all of France, not only for the mood, of course (old-fashioned woodwork, round light fixtures, white tablecloths, a Formica-topped bar), but for the food, obviously! Dreamt up daily by Harry, one of the first apostles of London gastropubs, the blackboard menu is filled with incredible and seemingly treats. The day we went for lunch, for €21: zucchini blossom beignets stuffed with salt cod, with a divine tartar sauce; slices of little tunny with a salad of cucumbers, melon and tomatoes seasoned with cinnamon basil; then a crazy fermented milk and lemon zest bavarois, plus rhubarb infused with elderberry and strawberries. Obviously, we have nothing bad to say about the wines either. As the organizer of the Fête du vin in Chassignolles since 2009, Harry only hangs out with organic winemakers: Les Noëls de Montbenault from Richard Leroy (€46 a bottle), Chardonnay du Hasard from Julien Labet (€36), Cailloux from Patrick Bouju (€35), L’Echappée Belle from the Domaine Le Bout du Monde (€4.80 a glass) …. Menus €21 (lunch) and €37 (dinner), à la carte €22-34 (dinner). // J.G.