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Sauvage

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After doing his time amongst the big guns (Robuchon, Piège), Loïc Petri returned home in 2019 to his native southern France to bring this dinnertime restaurant to life, which only has room for nine guests at a time! In a space that combines waxed concrete floors and teal banquettes with globe light fixtures, Lolo cajoles the appetites of Aix’s elite and well-informed tourists with his tantalizing seven- or ten-course menu. The night we went, we opted for the “small menu,” which included: tourteau crab decorated with parsley cream, pickled carrots and a magical small green crab jus; a chimera of foie gras marinated in verjus and paired with a poached oyster, all served in a rich black pepper beef bouillon; salt-baked beetroot transformed into ribbons and topped with a thin slice of smoked eel, all intensified by a spicy horseradish cream; pearly red mullet fillets wrapped in lardo di Colonnata, with peas, artichokes, tarragon and a sobrasada jus; crispy yet tender breaded veal sweetbreads topped with thinly sliced flame-charred calamari, a fermented milk emulsion and citric cow’s milk yogurt; Pyrenees sucking lamb prepared two ways – perfectly cooked saddle in a lamb reduction with a punchy preserved lemon condiment, plus harissa and sweet peppers, and meatballs charred over binchotan charcoal, in a transparent ras el-hanout bouillon… Incredible! For the dessert, place your trust in Dominique, Loïc’s mom: delicate pistachio ice cream enrobed in almond milk with the season’s first apricots thinly sliced, followed by Cléry strawberries paired with lemon sorbet, marbled meringue and a sticky dried strawberry tuile. // Gwen Jacquère 

FEELING THIRSTY? Cleverly chosen bottles (including a few produced in collaboration with the Aix wine shop Mademoiselle Wine) and wines served by the glass (they also do wine pairings for €60 or €85), like the Volnay 1er cru 2012 by Nicolas Rossignol (€20 a glass), unless you’d rather have Les Clous, a Vendée Chenin-Chardonnay from Thierry Michon (€34 a bottle) or Oréagne, a Jura Chardonnay-Savagnin from Jean-François Ganevat (€150 though!) 
PRICE: Tasting menus €70 and €120.

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