Mid Sussex Times

La Table de Léo, the perfect village restaurant in the Dordogne

- by Richard Esling winewyse.com

Every now and then on my wine travels in Europe, I come across a hotel, restaurant or wine bar that is just perfect. Or at least suits me just perfectly.

The village restaurant of La Table de Léo is one such establishm­ent. In the heart of the tiny village of Saint

Avit Sénieur in the Dordogne, roughly 35 minutes from Bergerac, this fabulously well-run restaurant is set cheek by jowl with the huge church and Abbey from which the village takes its name.

The vast main church is still in operation, adorned with faded fresques and a magnificen­t high vaulted ceiling, surrounded by the ruins of the cloisters and other buildings of the once grand abbey.

La Table de Léo is the old-style family French restaurant for which all true Francophil­es or aficionado­s of fine cuisine yearn. Old style but certainly not old fashioned with a modern interior and very up-to-date food and wine offerings.

Housed in an old stone building typical of the Périgord region, chef Florent Reversat, a Maitre Restaurate­ur, produces a delicious French cuisine which is at the same time traditiona­l and inventive. His wife Servane Daudet is in charge of front-of-house operations, providing tip-top friendly service with her loyal team, who welcome every customer with warm and genuine smiles.

The impressive church and abbey of Saint Avit Sénieur is classified by UNESCO and is on the pilgrim and walking route of Saint Jacques de Compostell­e. Another great reason to visit this charming village in the heart of the Dordogne region, although in my mind, secondary to booking lunch or dinner at La Table de Léo!

Alongside the delicious dishes prepared by chef Reversat – recognised in the Michelin Guide with a coveted ‘BIB Gourmand’ designatio­n since 2017 – a fine selection of French wines is offered in the Carte des Vins, many of which are sourced locally in the Bergerac area.

One of my favourite local producers is Chateau Montdoyen, located near Monbazilla­c. Several of the chateau’s wines are featured on the list, with a fabulous sweet and mature Monbazilla­c 2005 and a dry white which is excellent and one of the cheapest wines on the list.

All the wines from Montdoyen are given interestin­g, quirky names – the Monbazilla­c being ‘Femme je vous aime’ (Woman I love you) and my favourite dry white, made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon, is called ‘Un point, c’est tout!’ (Translated as Full stop, that’s all)!

As if all this wasn’t enough, in the last 6 months the restaurant has installed a D-vine wine serving system, to be able to offer a range of top wines by the glass, from all over France, served in perfect tasting conditions of temperatur­e and simulated three hours aeration.

Choose an Aloxe Corton Domaine Mallard 2017, a Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2018 or a Condrieu 2018 from Jean-luc Colombo. I enjoyed a glass of Margaux Chateau La Gurgue 2017 with my cheese course.

Holiday season is around the corner, so if you’re heading to the Dordogne in southwest France, be sure to book a meal at La Table de Léo, served on their large, shady terrace in warm weather.

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