A tale of two (very different) lunches

Regular readers of Radio Free Daglan will certainly know by now that it’s possible to eat very, very well in the Greater Daglan Area. Our experiences over the past few days have confirmed that truism at both ends of the price-per-meal spectrum. Let’s have a look.

I’ll begin with the casual lunch that my wife Jan and I had with great friends Keith and Kathy, visiting from Toronto, at Le Tournepique, the Basque restaurant in Castelnaud, about 10 kilometres north of Daglan. (I’ve written about the place quite often, so I won’t go into details here.)

As their main course, Keith, Kathy and Jan shared a serving of la potence de bœuf (beef gallows), which consists of pieces of grilled steak, hanging from a special holder, and flamed at the table. Here’s the spectacle:

Steak that’s hot, hot, hot.

As for me, I had one of my favourite dishes at the restaurant — a Basque omelette, filled with a delicious sauce made with onions, peppers and tomatoes. It’s as large as it is good, as you can see:

Perfectly made, in the Basque style.

Why is Le Tournepique one of our regular, go-to places? The food is terrific; there’s lots of choice on the menu; the place is spotless and comfortable; there’s a great view of the Dordogne River; and the service is both friendly and professional.

At the other (high-priced) end of the restaurant spectrum is Le Gindreau, which has (quite rightly) earned two Michelin stars. It’s in the hamlet of Saint-Médard in the Lot, the département south of the Dordogne. That’s a 45-minute drive from downtown Daglan, and we were there last Sunday, again with Keith and Kathy.

Because I’ve written about this restaurant often as well, I won’t go into great detail, nor show off each dish (of many). But here are some highlights to illustrate the lengths that a two-Michelin-starred restaurant will go to dazzle its clients.

We begin with a look at the creation that was brought to our table holding a selection of delicate, unusual and delicious amuse-bouches:

Quite the selection — and serving piece.

After munching our way through the amuse-bouches, we all had a complimentary bowl of soup. Then I had a complex entrée featuring, among other things, crisp pork belly and smoked fish, and then a rich dish of veal liver as my plat principal. The soup, starter and main course were all incredibly rich and delicious, but didn’t photograph well, as they were all quite dark. Instead, I’ll show off the dessert that both Keith and I ordered:

Crunchy, creamy, and full of chocolate.

As you can probably tell, it was a chocolate-lover’s delight. And then, just to drive home the point about the delights of chocolate, we received a serving tray of mignardises, with a large ball of chocolate in the centre. In this photo, I managed to capture the moment that our server’s wooden mallet was just about to hit the top of the chocolate ball (is there any chance for the Action Photographer of the Year Award?):

Down comes the wooden mallet.

And when the chocolate ball was broken, see what was inside — candied orange peel!

Choice chocolate chunks.

We left Le Gindreau a bit lighter in our wallets, but definitely happy. As my great-grandmother would have said, in her understated way: “Well, if we never eat any worse than this, we’ll be okay.”

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

4 Responses to A tale of two (very different) lunches

  1. That steak! 🤤
    Are reservations required at Le Tournepique?

  2. Loren Chudy says:

    Yes, quite the steak! Generally I reserve at Le Tournepique, but it’s not (usually) required. I just like to be sure, because sometimes there can be a run of tourists, and the place gets quite busy. BTW, the restaurant has a very good website (with a good English version as well).

  3. Karen Lassman says:

    Did Grammy really say that? I remember her but just visually, not verbally.

  4. loren24250 says:

    Yes, and in fact I think it’s the only “saying” of hers that I can remember. As I recall, she said it after a big Sunday lunch — roast chicken, etc. Pretty cute saying, I think. But then, she was pretty cute!

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