The Miche­lin Galaxy

In Fe­bru­ary 2017, the Miche­lin guide an­nounced a new line up of culi­nary stars in the re­gion al­ready fa­mous for its farm-to-ta­ble cui­sine and foodie life­style

Bordeaux J'Adore - - ◆ —— Touches Of Genius —— ◆ - SUZANNE NEL­SON

ONE OF THE MOST EX­CIT­ING AS­PECTS OF BORDEAUX'S CUL­TURAL RE­NAIS­SANCE has been the ar­rival of top chefs in the re­gion. In Fe­bru­ary, Miche­lin made its an­nual an­nounce­ment with a line-up that high­lights the ex­cel­lence of es­tab­lished chefs as well as new­com­ers. Four restau­rants were awarded two stars: Le Pres­soir d'ar­gent-gor­don Ram­say, La Grande Mai­son de Bernard Ma­grez, Hostel­lerie de Plai­sance and La Grand'vigne. Whether you pre­fer din­ing in the city or vis­it­ing the pic­turesque wine coun­try, or es­cap­ing to the stun­ning Arcachon Bay, the re­gion of­fers tempt­ing restau­rants, fine wines and ex­cel­lent ser­vice.

In the city

There are two op­tions with su­perb views of Bordeaux.

Chef Ni­co­las Magie at Le Saint James, the gourmet restau­rant in the Ho­tel Saint James in Bou­liac, is a cham­pion of lo­cal pro­duc­ers. You'll find el­e­gant and savoury in­ter­pre­ta­tions of lo­cal spe­cial­i­ties like foie gras ex­tra Landais, grilled over the fire and served with smoked eel, stuffed mo­rilles, and green pep­pers, or pi­geon from Mme Leguen, or duck from Mr Du­plantier pre­pared two ways, a thigh con­fit 'pot au feu' and a filet with bit­ter orange.

In nearby Lor­mont, chef Vivien Du­rand at Le Prince Noir of­fers three prix fixe din­ner menus (82€ - 102€) as well as a prix fixe menu at lunch (35€) that changes ev­ery Wed­nes­day, in­cor­po­rat­ing sea­sonal prod­ucts. Come for dishes like grilled leeks with had­dock and black radish vinai­grette or cod with swiss chard and baby garlic.

In the city cen­tre, Le Pav­il­lon des Boule­vards, re­cently changed hands, with Chefs Thomas Morel and Thibaut Ber­ton now in charge. The lunch menu (35€) might start with but­ter­nut squash, quail egg, parme­san and crisp veg­gies, fol­lowed by a filet of red mul­let with spelt, white as­para­gus, and garlic. The tast­ing menu is 90€.

At Le Pres­soir d'ar­gent-gor­don Ram­say, Chef Gi­lad Peled has taken farm to ta­ble cui­sine to new heights, mak­ing the most off Aquitaine's rich lo­cally sourced prod­ucts like foie gras, Perig­ord truf­fles, Aquitaine caviar, fish and seafood, lamb and beef, and of course an impressive wine list re­flect­ing Bordeaux's vine­yards. Ser­vice is im­pec­ca­ble, and the team is youth­ful and se­ri­ous.

At the beach

At Le Skiff Club, Chef Stéphane Car­rade brings his flavour­ful, in­ven­tive cui­sine to the restau­rant in the Ho­tel Haaitza, the new Philippe Starck de­signed ho­tel in Pyla-sur-mer. Nearby in Arcachon, Chef Thierry Re­nou at Le Pa­tio in Arcachon serves a menu at 46€ that might of­fer fresh oys­ters from Olivier La­ban and cod served with roast as­para­gus and lan­goustines. Tast­ing menus from 72€ to 110€.

In wine coun­try

In the me­dieval vil­lage of Saint Emil­ion, three restau­rants boast Miche­lin stars. Chef Ro­nan Ker­var­rec at the Hostel­lerie de Plai­sance, owned by Ger­ard and Chan­tal Perse, of Chateau Pavie, of­fers some of the finest, most cre­ative cui­sine in the south­west. At the re­cently ren­o­vated Lo­gis de la Cadène, Chef Alexan­dre Bau­mard of­fers a daily mar­ket menu at 32€ and as well as tast­ing menus (55€ to 80€) where you'll find spe­cial­i­ties like Pyre­nean lamb and wild hake. Chef David Char­rier at Les Belles Per­drix de Tro­p­long-mon­dot at Château Tro­p­long-mon­dot serves prix fixe menus (60€ to 150€) with a su­perb view of the vine­yards.

Fur­ther afield, the Auberge Saint-jean with Chef Thomas L'héris­son in Saint Jean de Blaignac of­fers a quiet respite along the Dor­dogne river. And golf en­thu­si­asts, shouldn't miss Château des Vigier and its restau­rant Les Fresques with Chef Di­dier Casaguana.

In the Graves and Sauternes re­gion, Claude Dar­roze in Lan­gon is a ver­i­ta­ble in­sti­tu­tion, with three menus (48€ - 98€) and bistro menu at 32€. Ex­pect fresh, del­i­cate scal­lops, lob­ster, sea bass as well as pi­geon, veal, duck and foie gras.

And Chef Ni­co­las Masse at La Grand'vigne, at Château Smith-haut-lafitte's ho­tel and spa Les Sources de Cau­dalie, will de­light you with starters like Aquitaine Caviar with lan­gous­tine tartare, cu­cum­ber and gin­ger or Lou­piac snails with wild as­apargus gnoc­chis and green peas. A main dish could be wild tur­bot with Jerusalem ar­ti­choke, bone bar­row and au­tumn truf­fle, or Pi­geon from Miss Le Guen with stuffed poivrade ar­ti­choke and car­damom jus. Prix fix menus from 95€ to 170€.

PHOTO GUIL­LAUME BONNAUD

Pierre Gag­naire and Jean-de­nis Le Bras at La Grande Mai­son.

PHOTO FRED­ERIC GUY

Alexan­dre Bau­mard at the Lo­gis de la Cadène.

PHOTO LAU­RENT THEILLET

Vivien Du­rand, the cooker rocker at Le Prince Noir.

PHOTO CLAUDE PETIT

Ni­co­las Magie at the Saint James.

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