Loyal and alert readers with good memories (and you know who you are), will recall that on Tuesday, Jan and I had our first meal at a restaurant in a long, long time — not just take-out food from a restaurant, but a lunch enjoyed while sitting on the actual terrace of an actual restaurant. This event was captured in “A scrumptious return to the near-normal” (May 26). And then we went and did it again in the same week.
Having heard lots from friends about a relatively new fine-dining restaurant near Gourdon, we decided to try it for lunch yesterday. It’s at the Domaine de Berthiol, and it has the unlikely name of Delicatessens.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I see the word delicatessen, I think of a small market or shop that specializes in Jewish foods (bagels, smoked salmon), Italian foods (sausages, cheeses) or German foods (sauerbraten, bratwurst). But this Delicatessens (yes, it’s plural) is something quite different — and very enjoyable.
We arrived pretty much on time for our 12:30 reservation, and were surprised to find that the parking lot was full of cars and most of the tables were already occupied. This was something of a surprise, since our traditional lunch starting time of 12:30 is relatively early by French standards. It seems that those who know the restaurant want to be sure to get a place. The company was nice, but it also meant that the servers were a bit rushed — and so it took a while to order our almost mandatory kirs.
We wound up with a nice table for two in the centre of the terrace. I took the following photo as Jan and I were leaving, so many of the customers had already finished. At its busiest, I think every table was occupied. Here’s a look:
The restaurant is in the country, a bit south and east of Gourdon, and the views of surrounding trees and fields are quite pleasant. Here’s one view:
From the start of our meal, Jan and I both felt that the chef at Delicatessens has the same kind of touch and imaginative flair as the much-beloved chef at O Moulin in Carsac. Here’s Jan’s entrée, which was a terrine made of confit of pork with herbs, and nicely decorated. On top of the terrine was a tiny spoonful of mustard, razor-thin radish slices, and four balls of herbed mousse:
I had a small taste of Jan’s terrine, and thought it was quite good. But for visual appeal (and a wonderful taste) I think my entrée was on top. It was an “ingot” made of peas that had been pureed, and topped with a mousse of fresh chèvre and young sprouts, and then decorated with razor-thin slices of radish, and edible flowers. To enhance the texture, the “ingot” contained a number of whole peas, and had been placed on a crunchy biscuit, like a sablé. Here’s my dish:
For our main course, Jan and I both ordered the tataki of beef (a piece of beef filet or tenderloin that is barely cooked, and then marinated), accompanied by polenta and served on a sweet mousseline of carrots. We both thought the beef tasted fine, but was tough and chewy — an unfortunate characteristic of a lot of French beef. Actually, my favourite parts of the dish were the mousseline and the “ingot” of polenta, which must have been deep-fried, because it had a crunchy coating. Here’s my dish:
I also loved my dessert, which was a wedge of chestnut crème encased in a crisp coating of dark chocolate with tiny bits of hazelnut, and topped with wedges of small pears. Here it is:
Domaine du Berthiol is now operated by the team of Benoît and Justine Mouly. He is listed on the restaurant’s website as Chef de cuisine, while she looks after special events (the place is a natural for weddings, celebrations, and similar events) and is also listed as the Designer culinaire.
We found the meal to be exceptionally good value, and the service — after a slow start — was friendly, prompt and professional. Our lunch included a kir for each of us, a bottle of Chablis, the three-course meal, and an espresso each. And for all that, the total bill was 95 euros.
Delicatessens is about 21 kilometres from Daglan, so you can drive there in less than half an hour. I’m sure we’ll be heading there again. The telephone number is 05 – 65 – 32 – 70 – 56, and the website is http://www.delicatessens.fr