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Posts Tagged ‘Christophe Renaud.’

Cuisine: Provençal French with Asian influence; gastronomic

Visit: August 2012

Price: High (although not too much for a Michelin star restaurant – €52 for a three-course discovery dinner menu)

La Coquillade – meaning the lark

Chef:  The restaurant is in hands of a Michelin starred chef Christophe Renaud. He uses mostly local ingredients and, as became recently very popular between chefs, he grows aromatic herbs and flowers in the organic garden of the Domaine La Coquillade. His previous experiences from restaurants in the USA and in the French Alsace region formed his cooking talent, which he now utilizes using Provençal ingredients at Le Gourmet.

Amousse bouche of melon gazpacho

Atmosphere: Nature with an eternally buzzing sound of cicadas create a relaxing environment. Wooden furniture, linen and beams inside and outside on the peaceful terrace remind you that you are in the middle of lush green countryside. During the day you can spot the flocks of vineyards surrounding the domaine and the hotel. Dress comfortably yet  not too casual since, despite being in the middle of nature, you are still dining at a Michelin starred establishment.

Food: Artistic, colorful and inventive. The chef blends Mediterranean flavors with exotic cuisines such as Asian. Most of the dishes include vegetable either playing the first violin or just tuning the other food instruments on the plate.

For the curious gourmets I recommend starting with L’Assortiment d’entrée – a tapas style assortment of three appetizers changing daily. They represent the breath of the chef’s cooking.

During the evening we dined there each of the starters seemed to come from a different corner of the world, at least in terms of flavors. The first – Beignet de mini carotte fane au cumin, sauce thaï – had an Asian twist. It was a vegetable tempura served with spicy, sweet-sour and soy-like varieties of sauces. It was a great snack with a glass of white wine I had as an aperitif.

Beef carpaccio starter

The second took mostly a French coat. The Rouleau de bœuf “Blonde d’Aquitaine”, croustillant au câpre, sorbet aux herbes fraîches du jardin – was an exquisite, genial and refreshing dish. A thin slice of beef wrapped in a fresh creamy sauce, all topped with crispy cheese cracker, fresh herbs sorbet and a tangy caper. It was one of the best beef starters I have ever had. Rich yet refreshing, bursting with different flavors, it was a bespoken and original recipe for Le Gourmet.

Another excellent tongue-teaser was the Sablé au parmesan, Baïaldi de légumes, marquereau mini-cuit infusé à la livèche – a parmesan biscuit, vegetable Baïaldi with mackerel infused with herbs. Delicate and surprisingly not as fishy as one would expect for a mackerel.

Sable au parmesan

The main courses usually include one fish, one meat and one vegetarian meal. I went for the fish – Poisson de petit métier de Méditerranée – from the à la carte menu. The flavor boosting crispy red mullet was served with red rice and vegetable maki and crispy rice à la rice popcorn. It was delicious and went well with a light red wine rather than white since the wine’s character might have been overpowered by the intense flavors of the sauce served with the fish.

Fish

For a desert you can either go for a discovery with La trilogie de desserts – selection of three daily desserts – or stick with the regular menu.

We have not had either since we had cheese and delicious hams from the nearby Gordes farmers market waiting in our room to be eaten with a bottle of red Aureto wine we got as a welcome present upon check-in at the hotel housing the restaurant.

Drinks: From the very affordable Aureto wines from the Domaine La Coquillade through other local interesting wines to the French icons, the wine list has little to offer from many French regions.

Contact: +33(0) 490 74 71 71

Address: La Coquillade; Demeure de Prestige; 84 400 Gargas; France

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