Restaurant Soulenq (Montpellier)

© Soulenq

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Along the Montpellier north highway, in a former garden center that’s been given a makeover (big patio windows, a wooden and tiled bar, a massive terrace with a wood-paneled deck), chef Arthur Lahmy, front-of-house manager Pierre Quatrefages (both of whom used to work at Anga), pastry chef Camille Rigal (ex-Ritz in Paris) and wine merchant François Touelle bring their take on bistronomy to their restaurant Soulenq – pronounced with a southern French accent. Served à la carte? Whole fish, big cuts of meat to be shared (pork chops the day we went), and plates that are each more beautiful than the last: incredible foie gras ravioli electrified by a duck and shiitake bouillon; a very retro poule au pot boiled chicken surrounded by carrots, leeks and potatoes, all glazed with salsa verde; perfect lamb pastilla served with a bowl of bulgur wheat, cauliflower and chervil; then a chocolate cream with hazelnut praline, topped with a graphically pleasing cloud of emulsified milk for dessert – yum! Several Thursdays a month, from June to September, Arthur throws whatever he has on hand onto the grill: suckling lamb, octopus, eggplant, sausages… // Antoine Antoine 

FEELING THIRSTY? A local IPA from the Brasserie Le Détour (€6 for 330 ml), a few classic cocktails (gin & tonic, mojitos, etc., €10) and a very honorable southern wine list with something for every budget, from Large Soif, an Anjou blend from Terra Vita Vinum (€5 a glass) to Muntada, a Roussillon red from the Domaine Gauby (€90 a bottle). 
PRICE: À la carte €36-48, shared cuts of meat €45-90, grilled meats €5-15 (several Thursdays a month from June to September). 

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