A fitting lunch for a birthday girl

What do you get for a birthday girl who has almost everything — things like beauty, charm, humour and intelligence?

Well, the birthday of my wife Jan was a couple of days ago {Thursday), and we realized that one of the few things she was lacking was a lunch at the Michelin-starred Le Grand Bleu in Sarlat. So off we went.

For extra birthday fun, we were joined by long-time Contrada friends from Toronto, Rob and Darlene, who are staying with us, and Daglan friends Richard and Rosemary.

In a rare show of unanimity, we all began lunch with a kir, and then ordered the special “bistro” lunch menu, at just 25 euros. This is an incredibly low price for a restaurant of such quality, and the goodies included a nice selection of amuse-bouches to begin.

Then came the entrée, which was a generous slice of terrine with a variety of accompaniments, plus freshly baked rolls. Here’s my plate:

Finely minced cornichons among the accompaniments.

The main course was merlu (hake), which was not only perfectly cooked but served with a variety of interesting extra touches, from a glazed strip of beet to baby carrots to several sauces and foams. Here’s my plate, before I attacked:

The fish was delish.

Dessert was this serving of frozen banana soufflé, topped with chocolate and a sliced strawberry. Very nice:

A lovely way to end a lovely lunch.

Along the way, we enjoyed an unusual wine recommended by our hostess, Céline, who had given a subtle shake of the head to my suggestion of a Sancerre.

Instead, she thought that the Vertigo blanc by Mas Amiel in the Languedoc-Roussillon region would be perfect. The wine is predominantly Grenache Blanc, with Maccabeu, Roussanne and Marsanne grapes too. And yes, it went well with all our dishes, from entrée to plat to dessert, and finally to the mignardises that were served with our coffees.

As has become fairly typical, we were the last diners to leave the restaurant. But that gave us a chance to shake hands with the chef, Maxime Lebrun, who was outside the restaurant with a few members of his crew, and to thank him for another wonderful meal.

And by the way, we did celebrate further in the evening, at the home of good friends Elisabeth and Gerhard, who were kind enough to host a bunch of us, and to provide a variety of drinks and goodies, concluding with a giant sparkling candle set on a plate of macarons. So, once again, it was Happy Birthday, Jan!

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

8 Responses to A fitting lunch for a birthday girl

  1. Alix Horner says:

    Sounds absolutely mouthwatering!!
    No wonder I couldn’t reach you to sing happy birthday 🎉🎁 in person … knew you would be enjoying a sumptuous meal somewhere…however I simply left a voice mail with our love and good wishes for a fabulous year ahead😘
    Hunkered down for a hurricane tomorrow night!
    Alix and Larry
    xox

  2. Sam Hershfield says:

    Happy birthday Janster!

  3. Gordon Pape says:

    And Happy Birthday from me too.

    • Loren Chudy says:

      Thanks from Jan, Gordon. Nice to hear from you, as always. Our fingers are crossed for all our family and friends in Florida today, because of the hurricane. Very best wishes for staying safe and secure.

  4. James Douglas Curson says:

    Superb value for 25 EU

    • Loren Chudy says:

      Absolutely right. Shows what a talented chef, with a great team, can do. One key: do everything right, whether it’s the cuisine itself, or the fact that the wine and water are poured when needed, or the right silverware is put in place.

  5. James Douglas Curson says:

    Looking forward to more blogs!!

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