Okay, it’s more like a large stream than a river, but I like this title, and I thought it would be a good way to reveal a happy discovery: another fine-dining restaurant, not far from Daglan.
The place is Restaurant O Moulin, in Carsac-Aillac, which is about a 30-minute drive from our home in Daglan. From our first experience recently, it’s well worth the journey.
In the photo below, you’ll see that the restaurant is set in an elegant building on attractive grounds, with the small river (or large stream) to the left of the picture. The water actually runs under the restaurant, and you’re able to see it from the restaurant’s entrance room by looking through a glassed-in section of the floor. Eventually the little river flows into the Dordogne River.
How good is the restaurant? Well, when I checked TripAdvisor yesterday, there were 89 reviews — with 80 “excellent” ratings, eight “very good” ratings, and just one “average.” So I’m not the only one who likes it.
The people behind the restaurant are quite young, but still well experienced, and it’s clear that Chef Nicolas Aujoux and front-of-the-house partner Cécile Guerin are keen to provide both excellent food and service.
At our recent lunch, with friends Helen and Roy, we all had the three-course, 32-euro menu. The meal began with a tasty selection of amuse–bouches, with my wife Jan’s gluten-free diet easily accommodated.
Helen and I both had the frégola sarde comme un risotto as our entrée. If you’re not familiar with it, fregola is a tiny Italian pasta, somewhat like couscous. In this case, it was indeed prepared “like a risotto,” with bits of shrimp and smoked haddock, in an incredibly rich sauce made with the shells of shrimp.
It may not look like much (see photo below) but both Helen and I thought we could have skipped the main course and gone straight to dessert. It was that filling and rich, not to mention delicious.
For my plat principal, I had a pavé of trout (meaning a rectangular piece) that had been glazed with coffee and confit of lemons, and served with potatoes and carrots in a buttery sauce. I don’t usually get too worked up about carrots, but these were cooked perfectly. Here’s my dish:
The delicate trout was simply delicious.
Then came the dessert — and it turned out to be one of those “deconstructed” dishes that so many chefs seem to love. I often find deconstructed dishes a bit silly; I particularly remember a bouillabaisse served to me in Villefranche-sur-Mer in which the seafood had been removed from the broth and perched around the side of the bowl, so it could dry out and get cold. But this time, our chef had a winner.
The dessert was a French classic — la poire Belle-Hélène — but it had been pulled apart. The poached pear had been cut into wedges, and the ice cream and chocolate sauce were nicely set out on the plate. Have a look:
Our lunch partners Helen and Roy were actually the people who introduced us to the restaurant, although our visit together was the first time they had been in O Moulin themselves since the new team had taken over. (The place evidently had several earlier incarnations.) So thanks to them. As for Jan and me, we’re already planning our next trip back.