This el­e­gant, fast-grow­ing city has plenty of restau­rants to whet your ap­petite, says Peter Ste­wart

France - - Contents -

Feel the buzz of this go-ahead city and sam­ple the Mediter­ranean cui­sine.

1 Do­maine de Ver­chant

For a taste of fine din­ing in a tran­quil set­ting, the gourmet restau­rant at the Do­maine de Ver­chant is a per­fect choice. It sits in­side the main build­ing of the five-star ho­tel, which is sur­rounded by vines that once ex­tended to the edge of Mont­pel­lier city cen­tre two kilo­me­tres away.

I ar­rived for din­ner just be­fore sun­set on a balmy spring evening and was in­vited to sit on the ter­rasse, which over­looks the ho­tel’s ex­ten­sive park­land. Set menus are avail­able, but I opted for the à la carte, which proved a de­li­cious treat, from the amuse bouche right through to dessert.

My starter of as­para­gus, cooked with Provençal herbs and served in a light onion vinai­grette re­ally cap­tured the tastes of spring. The veg­etable risotto main course was burst­ing with flavour, thanks in par­tic­u­lar to the sweet Provençal toma­toes and tangy lemon emul­sion. This went nicely with a large glass of a fruity red wine from the ho­tel’s vine­yard. Dessert con­sisted of a dark choco­late pie, with hints of mint and topped with Mada­gas­can vanilla and yo­ghurt ice cream.

Ser­vice was im­pec­ca­ble, and the som­me­lier chat­ted to din­ers about the best wines to ac­com­pany their meal.

Open Mon, Sat and Sun for lunch and din­ner, Thurs and Fri for din­ner. Closed Tues, Wed. Menus from €68, mains from €38. 1 Boule­vard Philippe Lamour, 34170 Castel­nau-le-lez Tel: (Fr) 4 67 07 26 00 do­mainede­v­er­

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