Likoké (Les Vans)

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While chef Piet Huysentruyt’s soul still reigns over this Ardèche hideaway, his son Cyriel has been doing a good job of staying the course since he took over in 2019. In the sleek dining room (waxed concrete floors, bare ash wood tables), the talented Guido Niño Torres – who has climbed all the ranks at this restaurant in the last five years – is making the Ardèche terroir shine without neglecting his Latin American roots. The other night, the 10-course menu (€95) featured: a delicate duck liver parfait and lacto-fermented vegetables (cucumber, radish and cauliflower); incredible arepa (cornbread) topped with smoked pork belly, achiote and pickled onions; duck hearts that were perfectly grilled in the Big Green Egg grill, kimchi and a light hollandaise sauce; a slightly sweet lobster and blood sausage macaron; divine kohlrabi spaghetti and shiitake mushrooms plunged into a rich dashi; lovely trout sashimi bathed in a clever kombucha and tiger’s milk mixture, with trout roe and pickled fennel for added zing; a matured young turbot fillet and palourde clams swathed in a tasty white wine emulsion, fermented milk and shellfish fumet; dry-aged duck supreme with carrots prepared a variety of ways (smoked, fermented, etc.) and a perfectly full-bodied duck jus; before an ultra-fresh orange-Campari granita, then some delicious whole strawberries with a thyme blossom ice cream and herbs from the kitchen garden. // G.LeP.

FEELING THIRSTY? The crème de la crème of low-intervention wines (Pfifferling, Allemand, Dard et Ribo…), such as a local red from Andrea Calek (€9 a glass), a fluid Bourgogne Aligoté from Pacalet (€80 a bottle) or a macerated Viognier from Daniel Sage in the Haute-Loire (€60).

PRICE: Menus €45 (lunch), €95 and €145.

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