“Wonderful, from start to finish” was how I described a meal we enjoyed earlier this year at Le Grand Bleu, the restaurant in Sarlat which richly deserves its Michelin star. (It’s so good that in this year alone, I wrote about it on Feb. 3, March 12, April 25, May 20 and Sept. 28.)
My wife Jan and I recently had another lunch there, with friends Suzanne and Mark, who had never been. At the risk of overdoing it, today I’m going to share a few of the dishes, because they are so visually appealing (and, more importantly, clever and delicious).
The four of us began with kir royaux (trust me — that’s the plural of kir royal), and then enjoyed a tray of mixed amuse-bouches, including pigeon samosas. Then came a hot bowl of deep orange potiron soup (potirons are a fairly common type of squash), with a small scoop of savoury ice cream in the centre.
And then it was on to the main events — the entrées, the plats principaux, and the desserts. (Oh yes, along with one bottle of Chablis and another bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.)
A beautiful entrée was bonbons de langoustines à l’huile estragon fenouillette, duo de pulpes de pomme grany et betterave au Xérès, écume à l’estragon, glace aux crustacès — or what you might describe as a composed salad of puréed beets with lightly poached langoustines, each hidden by a deep-green leaf, accompanied by a light tarragon foam and a small scoop of shellfish ice cream. Here’s one of our plates:
While Mark had roast goose breast for his main course, and I (of course) had the sweetbreads, both Suzanne and Jan had the scallops. (Pardon me: I meant to say Saint Jacques poêlées et son risotto crémeux de châtaigne, jus de viande aux cèpes tranché, émulsion à l’ail doux.) Here’s Jan’s plate:
For dessert, both Jan and I had a pear soufflé, which was light and simply delicious. Here’s my plate, with a cookie bridging between the hot soufflé itself and a (quickly melting) scoop of rich vanilla ice cream:
When all that was done, and it was time for coffees, we were given this tray of mignardises. My favourites were the macarons, which brought together the intense flavours of basil and raspberries in a yin-and-yang design:
Next on our culinary horizon? Tomorrow night’s dinner with friends at a château high above Daglan.
What can I say? As the title of one of our favourite old movies puts it, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”