My wife Jan asked that question yesterday afternoon, as we drove home under a cloudless sky. And when she answered “We’re very, very happy,” it wasn’t just the weather she was admiring. We were feeling quite good after having enjoyed a wonderful lunch at O Moulin in Carsac, for the first time in many months.
Restaurants in France have been emerging from the restrictions of the Covid pandemic lockdown. First they could offer take-out food; then they could serve customers outdoors, on patios and terraces; and now they can accept customers indoors. But there was special poignancy in O Moulin’s opening, because it had been completely shut down because of a major flood (which I described in “Fine dining: tasty treats, and a sad tale,” posted on April 25).
As it happens, we ate outdoors on the restaurant’s shaded terrace, because the weather was so pleasant. I’m happy to say that the terrace was full of diners, and we saw at least three couples turned away because they showed up without a reservation. (When in France, don’t think you can just pop into a restaurant, especially a very good one, and expect to be served a meal.)
Since we felt like celebrating, we began with a glass of Taittinger Champagne (delicious), and went on to choose our meals. I chose from the 35-euro Menu L’énéa, while Jan made her selection from the 47-euro menu. We were then served several amuse-bouches, including this bowl holding a roll of delicate smoked trout, filled with soft, creamy cheese, and sitting in a pool of an intense asparagus sauce:
For her entrée, Jan chose a dish of tuna tataki (barely cooked tuna), while I had a serving of small ravioli, filled with fresh chèvre cheese, sitting in a pool of creamy sauce scattered with slivers of chorizo sausage.
Jan’s main course was a filet of Limousin beef, served with a mix of young vegetables and girolle mushrooms; she said the beef was perfectly cooked and wonderfully tender. My plat principal was a filet of Borrèze trout, served with new carrots and small pasta shells. Here’s my plate:
Jan’s dessert was listed on the menu simply as “Comme une tarte au fraise,” but her serving was gluten-free (no pastry), with fresh strawberries and a quenelle of ice cream, circled around a swirl of whipped cream. Here’s her plate:
My dessert was described as a “mousse au chocolat Dulcey, creme glacée de riz au lait et confiture de lait,” which as you can see from my plate featured a large oval made of white chocolate, served with a quenelle of ice cream, and pieces of fresh strawberry:
It was a truly memorable meal, in lovely surroundings, and it won’t be long before we head back.