Poulpette (Cognac)

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A former culinary student who has worked at fifteen-some restaurants in Brussels and Paris, Antoine Vernouillet is certainly a funny guy. At Poulpette (waxed concrete floors, wood and steel tables, Edison light bulbs), the thirty-something chef pampers Cognac’s taste buds from inside his open kitchen. The day we went for lunch, the menu featured an incredible surf ’n’ turf tartare combining duck breast, homemade taramasalata, horseradish, smoked olive powder, almonds and grapes; a glistening line-caught pollack from La Cotinière, cooked over the open flames, with crisp carrots, a marinière sauce and shimeji mushrooms; before the highly texturized dessert combining fresh raspberries, caramelized cashews, Pineau jelly and a basil sorbet. FYI: the ambiance changes on Saturday nights as it becomes more of a wine bar, with two appetizers and two pho-style main courses… // G.D.

FEELING THIRSTY? Place your trust in Amandine Bernanose, the chef’s partner: a Saint-Pourçain white from Les Terres d’Ocre (€6 a glass), an Angevin red from Les Vignes de Babass (€35 a bottle), a Beaujolais white from Christophe Pacalet (€40)…

PRICE: A surprise three-course menu €27 (weekday lunch), à la carte €37-42.

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