There were many things working in favour of Saturday’s lunch, when we had planned to try Le Gindreau, a Michelin-starred restaurant at the southern edge of the Greater Daglan Area (the GDA).
First off, our great friends Keith and Kathy had flown from Toronto to Madrid for a few days, and had then flown up to Toulouse and had driven a rental car to Daglan to spend time with us. So we had marvellous companions for lunch.
Next, the day itself was as good as it gets. Bright, sunny, barely a cloud in the sky, warm but not hot (at least initially), and with a nice breeze. Then we had the lovely drive — south from Daglan, through Cazals, past the turn-off to Les Arques (home of La Récréation, one of our favourite restaurants), and finally to the little hamlet of Saint-Médard — where the restaurant Le Gindreau proudly wears its Michelin star.
We made the obvious choice and ate on the terrace — where we were cooled by the shade of large trees. We began with the recommended house cocktail, based on Champagne, that we all loved. The restaurant itself is (like La Récréation) a former school, made of white stone. Here’s the bright restaurant at the edge of the shaded terrace:
From our table, we could look out over the fields and hills of the Lot — the department south of the Dordogne that’s named for the River Lot, just as our department is named for a river, the beautiful Dordogne. Here’s the view from my seat at our table:
The food was exceptional. Here is my entrée — ravioli filled with the tails of langoustines, flavoured with ginger butter, and served with a verrine (a small glass of layered flavours) containing zucchini and coconut milk:
As my main course, I chose the Quercy Farm Lamb. This lamb (and I’m quoting from a useful handbook, The Lot in Your Pocket, 2011) is “…raised on the limestone causse, where the ewes nibble the short, sparse grass and the wild herbs that grow with it, thus giving their milk an incomparable flavour that transfers to the meat.” Among the accompaniments was a baked potato incorporating the local goat cheese Rocamadour. The lamb was perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. Here is the plate:
Then came our cheese course. The cheese trolley was wheeled to our table, and we each chose several slices — from Cantal to Rocamadour to a local brébis (sheep’s milk) cheese that reminded me of a good old Cheddar. Here is a view of the trolley:
Unfortunately, the photo of my dessert — the moelleux au chocolat with roasted-almond ice cream — has disappeared into the void. But take my word for it: it was spectacular.
Two visits to our table by the restaurant’s friendly (and obviously talented) chef, M. Alexis Pélissou, helped to seal the deal.
The verdict? Pretty much perfect. But tomorrow I’ll make a head-to-head comparison between Le Gindreau and another Michelin-starred restaurant in the GDA, Sarlat’s Le Grand Bleu. Stay tuned.