Beauty (and taste) on the plate in Sarlat

Having written several times about the Michelin-starred restaurant in Sarlat, Le Grand Bleu, I’ll be brief in this posting. But since my wife Jan and I had a lovely lunch there yesterday with our friend Joanne, and since all three of us were delighted with the beauty as well as the taste of the dishes, I simply had to show off the goodies created by Chef Maxime Lebrun.

(If you want to see previous reviews and more details, just type the name of the restaurant into the search box at the top right-hand side of this blog.)

After enjoying a selection of delicious amuse-bouches with our glasses  of Champagne, we started on the main meal. We had each chosen the Menu Découverte at 54 euros, which includes the mise en bouche, an entrée, either a fish or meat dish as the plat principal, and a dessert. To start, we had a bottle of Sancerre blanc, and later a Chinon rouge.

For my entrée, I had the pieds de cochon caramélisés. The meat from the pig’s feet had been finely chopped and spiced, and mixed with shards of crispy skin. Then the meat mixture was shaped into a square, and served with a  coulis of yellow pepper and rocket (arugula), a brunoise of red and yellow peppers, and an arugula sorbet. It was rich and delicious, and here it is:

An incredible combination, based on the meat from pig's trotters.

An incredible combination, based on the meat from pig’s trotters.

Both Joanne and Jan started with the lightly cooked langoustines, served with a déclinaison of carrots (carrots cooked in different ways), along with carrot sorbet. Here’s the dish:

Barely cooked langoustines, and a variety of carrot-based ingredients.

Barely cooked langoustines, and a variety of carrot-based ingredients.

The main course for Joanne and Jan was tenderloin of Aubrac beef, served with cauliflower and hazelnuts, with a coffee sauce and a tobacco (!) foam. Jan absolutely raved about the taste and tenderness of the meat. And here it is:

Jan said it was the best beef dish she's had in France.

Jan said it was the best beef dish she’s had in France.

As for me, I stayed with my old favourite at Le Grand Bleu — veal sweetbreads. They are always beautifully caramelized, and then served in unique ways. This time the sweetbreads had been caramelized in beet juice, and then served in a bowl with a deep layer of potato and nettle foam, which was both unusual and delicious. Here’s my serving:

My favourite -- sweetbreads -- done in an entirely new way.

My favourite — sweetbreads — done in an entirely new way.

Joanne’s dessert was, apparently, the only slight disappointment of the meal. It looked terrific — a macaron made of black olives, and served with local strawberries, an asparagus and basil cream, and black olive ice cream — but Joanne said she found it a bit low in flavour and a touch too dry. Here’s her plate:

Joanne's brilliant dessert.

Joanne’s brilliant (looking) dessert.

And here is Jan’s dessert — a plate of three apricots poached with rosemary, and served with a ganache and a compote of kumquat, plus a cocoa sorbet:

Jan's rich dessert , based on roasted apricots.

Jan’s rich dessert, based on roasted apricots.

My choice was this peach and cherry soufflé, served with crumble and a quenelle of
Madagascar vanilla ice cream:

My dessert was a wonderful soufflé.

My dessert was this wonderful soufflé.

After our coffees, it was time for another culinary adventure before heading back to Daglan. We headed off to Sarlat’s largest supermarket to buy three (live) Canadian lobsters, which we poached last evening and then enjoyed in a risotto for lunch today. Jan and I will, of course, be dining pretty lightly tonight.

This entry was posted in Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in the Dordogne, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Beauty (and taste) on the plate in Sarlat

  1. Deb says:

    Looks lovely, bit too much foam. We couldn’t decide wether to go to GB or Le Gindreau for Bobs birthday on Friday. Le Gindreau won as they are hosting a special gourmet evening. Enjoy San Seb x

  2. Lesley says:

    Spots are in this year!

  3. Doug Curson says:

    Two weeks without a new blog! Given up? I do hope not!


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