For the second week in a row, our Sunday lunch was the 26-euro take-out special from the excellent restaurant Le Grand Bleu. On Friday I had telephoned the chef, Maxime Lebrun, to place our order, and yesterday Jan drove to Sarlat to pick up our meals, at a “chalet” across the street from the post office. (Le Grand Bleu itself remains closed, other than for take-out meals, because of the pandemic.)
Obviously anyone calling himself or herself a chef must be able to cook well, and particularly the foods of their region or culture; but a really good chef also knows what combinations of flavour, texture and colour can be added to the dish to increase the diner’s enjoyment; Chef Lebrun is one of those.
Our entrée was, in my view, not the most appealing looking dish I’ve ever had, but it was certainly tasty. My first course — slices of marinated trout with two sauces — nori and passion fruit, is shown below:
The main course was, I thought, more visually appealing, and even more delicious. It featured meltingly tender roast loin of veal and a “piperade” sauce made with mint, accompanied by some perfectly cooked white and green asparagus. Have a look:
Our desserts really showed off Chef’s ability to put unusual flavour combinations to good effect. The starting point was a black olive macaron, filled with a whipped green cream and fresh strawberries. Jan and I both loved the cream, but couldn’t quite identify the taste. So I double-checked the menu: it turned out to be a crème d’asperge verte au basilic, meaning that Chef is making full use of the seasonal vegetable. More importantly, it really was delicious. Here’s my dessert:
For the previous Sunday lunch, Jan and I rated it as 8 out of a possible 10. But yesterday’s meal scored a perfect 10. Had the dishes been a bit less dainty — which is to say a bit more generous — it could have scored an 11.