When friends Keith and Kathy (K-2) were contemplating their recent trip here, to see some of the Tour de France in person, we first did some long-distance planning. Among our decisions was that at least one Michelin-starred lunch was in order.
On previous visits, K-2 had eaten with my wife Jan and me at two of our starred favourites in the Greater Daglan Area — Le Grand Bleu (Sarlat) and Le Gindreau (Saint- Médard) — so we decided to eat at the “gastronomic” restaurant at Trémolat’s Le Vieux Logis. Our chosen date was the day after K-2 arrived from Toronto, which was last Sunday, July 9.
I had confidently made the reservation, thinking that we would enjoy the multi-course lunch (Le Menu Tapas) at just over 50 euros (it’s now risen to 53 euros) . But when we arrived and looked over the menu, we learned that the tapas lunch is available only on weekdays, and definitely not on jours fériés (holidays) and weekends. Oops.
Having eaten at Le Vieux Logis many times, I had been confident that the tapas lunch was available on weekends, and hadn’t bothered to check the restaurant website. But later, I reviewed my own records at home, and found that in 2013 (for example) we ate there a total of six times. In 2013, the tapas lunch cost 46 euros, and it turns out that all our meals took place on either Monday or Tuesday. Hmm.
In any case, there we sat, outside on the terrace, drinking a glass of Champagne, reviewing the menu, and hoping that the grey skies would clear. They didn’t, and a light rain forced us into the restaurant itself. (That’s too bad, because in good weather the terrace is an absolutely lovely spot for lunch.)
We all got a bit of sticker shock when we realized that the “best” deal available was probably L’Eté en Aquitaine, at 100 euros for the food and another 25 euros for la sélection des vins de notre sommelier, all of which are from the Bergerac area. But, onward we plunged, and here’s a look at the cavalcade of goodies that we enjoyed.
With our Champagne on the terrace, we had been given a small selection of petite amuse-bouches. But seated in the main dining room, we were brought another, more substantial amuse — a dish of cold tomato soup with a quenelle of ice cream, small cubes of tomato, and a small glass of cold gazpacho. Quite refreshing, and delicious.
Our entrée was La Truffe Blanche d’Eté — a vichyssoise of vegetables, served atop a small pile of potato cubes, and covered in slivers of white truffle.
The fish course consisted of a small filet of sandre (pike-perch), served with a light tomato sauce and accompanied by a flower from a zucchini (courgette) that had been stuffed with a mousse of sandre.
The main course was veal, served with a galette of girolle mushrooms and hazelnuts. Here it is:
Next came a cheese course, which I won’t bother showing. As you would expect in a fine French restaurant, there’s a lot of cheese on offer, and you take your pick. But for dessert, Chef outdid himself — serving up two beauties.
First was this creamy, chocolatey concoction:
And then the real show-stopper — what the menu described as Les Fraises En Vacherin Minute, avec Sorbet Fraise, Hibiscus. In other words, a strawberry dessert served in a delicious meringue tube. Both attractive-looking and really yummy.
And then it was back out onto the terrace for our coffees and mignardises. Oh, and the cheque.
So, on balance, the quality and variety of the food made up for the sticker shock — sort of, anyway. At 125 euros per person for the meal and wines, plus the glass of Champagne we all enjoyed before lunch, the total came to nearly 300 euros per couple. Cost aside, it was certainly a great way to spend four hours with good friends, who also appreciate fine dining.
The biggest disappointment probably was that we had to eat indoors, although you can’t blame a restaurant for the weather. In fact, there were a couple of other slips — such as mixing up one of Jan’s gluten-free desserts with mine, which did contain small pieces of biscuit. And by the way, could someone give the sommelier some happy pills before he starts work?