5 new restaurants to try in Bordeaux
If you're planning to visit Bordeaux this summer these are the hot restaurants according to local wine industry insider 'La Bordelaise'. But which are worth going to? Read on . . .
"Things are finally hotting up in Bordeaux. Like any of France’s major cities, it has its fair share of Michelin stars and you’ll never have to travel far for a magret or steak frites but I’ve always wanted more. Now, my wish has been granted – over the past six months, several new restaurants have appeared, owned and run by enthusiastic thirtysomethings ...
Belle Campagne, 15 rue des Bahutiers.
www.belle-campagne.fr. Tel : 05 56 81 16 51
Belle Campagne is “locavore”, which means that they only use food sourced from within a 250km radius of the restaurant. Take a quick look at a map – the catchment area includes some of the best natural produce in France, which makes you wonder why all restaurants in Bordeaux aren’t locavore too?
Belle Campagne is set in a small townhouse in the old town and has a definite boho feel. They also have an epicerie opposite.
The menu offers sharing plates (cheese or charcuterie), finger food, or traditional mains. My slow-cooked pulled lamb and purée was delicious, hearty and prettily presented. I was only there for a quick lunch, but would like to go back and try the finger food menu. They also do Sunday brunch and there are good vegetarian options.
Verdict: Belle Campagne is a good concept, but I can’t help feeling a little underwhelmed when compared to the level of cooking and value for money in the neighbouring restaurants.
Lowdown: Sharing plates: 15€. Finger food/starters: 1,10€ (per oyster) – 8€. Mains: 15, 17 (and 45€ for the Cote de Veau)
Open: Tuesday – Saturday: 18h00 – 01h00. Sunday: 10h00 – 15h00
Miles, 33 Rue du Cancera
www.restaurantmiles.com. Tel 05 56 81 18 24
Miles is the brainchild of four friends who met at chef’s school in Paris. The name refers to the international unit of length – a nod to their international roots (Japan, Israel, Vietnam, France and New Caledonia).
Miles is small (approx. 20/25 covers) but has a relaxed, surprisingly airy feel. You can either sit at the bar that snakes around the open kitchen, or at one of the 4 or 5 tables.
Miles offers a four-course fixed menu for lunch and a five-course equivalent for dinner. There is also a quick formula available at lunchtime, but it seems a shame to miss out when the set menu is so well-priced. The menu changes fortnightly.
At only 25€, we went for the 4 Miles and we weren’t disappointed. The food is innovative, well presented and has great depth and balance of internationally-inspired flavours. The asparagus soup with almond yoghurt was a revelation, as was the low-temperature cooked pork fillet with celeriac and vanilla purée.
A limited but interesting wine list is currently focused on the Loire (sparkling, white and red), which is a refreshing change in Bordeaux, and works particularly well with their food.
The service is sometimes a little vague, but you find yourself forgiving them.
Verdict: Excellent value for money and delicious. Highly recommended.
Lowdown: Petit Miles – main (fish or meat), dessert: 18€. 4 Miles – 4 course tasting menu: 25€. 5 Miles (dinner only) – 5 course tasting menu: 38€
Open: Tuesday – Friday: 12h00-14h30 / 19h30 – 22h00. Saturday: 19h30 – 22h00
Dan, 6 rue du Cancera
www.facebook.com/DanRestaurant.fr Tel 05 40 05 76 91
Just down the road is Dan, an Asian-inspired restaurant recently opened by a Franco-Chinese couple, after 8 years in Hong Kong. This 20-25 seater restaurant, housed in a narrow vaulted room, is decorated with pretty touches of chinoiserie. Dan, which means “light” in Cantonese, aims to combine the two cultures and cooking styles, which I think is possibly where it fell down for me.
Dan has received rave reviews ever since it opened in June 2013. The food is very well executed, but I can’t help feeling that this is Asian food tempered for a French palate. I wanted a little more spice and intensity of flavour. In fairness, the waiter did explain that we would probably prefer the evening menu.
There are three mains at lunch, whereas dinner offers more choice either à la carte, or with a tasting menu for the whole table.
The dim sum were utterly delicious and I could easily have wolfed down six, rather than the three served.
The roasted duck roasted with Chinese spices, combined a perfectly cooked duck breast with a delicious slow-cooked leg and served with red cabbage, black lemon and tiny home-pickled aubergines and onions. Clever. However, while the poached hake with corn sauce was perfectly cooked, it was a little bland.
The chocolate dessert was a big disappointment - two blobs of unset chocolate mousse, crumbled biscuit and some cherries, which I suppose was a nod to deconstruction but left me perplexed.
Four wines are selected each month to go with the food and offer original and food-friendly alternatives to the ubiquitous Bordeaux selection – Savennières from the Loire, Viognier from the Rhone, a Mondeuse – as well as a Haut Médoc – were this month’s favourites There is also a tea menu.
Verdict: Everything I have seen and read makes me believe that Dan can be as good as I expected it to be so I'll give it another go, but will book for dinner next time.
Lowdown: Lunch : Starter & dish of the day : 14€, or 19€ with a glass of wine (or ¼ water) and coffee. Main : 15€. Tasting menu of 4 dishes : 28€ Dinner: Starter, main & pudding) : 28€. Tasting menu : 38€. Carte Blanche (tasting menu for the table) : 55€
Open: Lunch : Thursday – Saturday 12h00 – 14h30. Dinner : Tuesday – Saturday 19h30 – 23h00
Le Chien de Pavlov, 45/47 rue de la Devise
www.lechiendepavlov.com. Tel 05 56 48 26 71
Just around the corner is the brilliant Chien de Pavlov. Great name, great place, great vibe, great food. We put Le Chien de Pavlov to the test – three adults, three hungry teenagers and a baby. They took everything in their stride with a smile and a 'can do' attitude.
Le Chien de Pavlov calls itself a “jeune bistro”, so I expected classics, perhaps served with a twist, but I wasn’t quite expecting food like this. Lunch offers three starters, three mains and three puddings – everything is prepared on site. The dinner menu is more extensive.
The spring risotto was light, tasty, well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The crab and combawa (kaffir lime) ravioli was delightful. The winner was the egg – poached at low temperature to perfection, served with fresh anchovies, croutons and chorizo – the stuff the Sunday brunch dreams are made of.
The kids had a chicken burger with Caesar sauce and fabulous pommes grenailles. The rack of pork with artichokes was also good, but the main course winner was the John Dory with fregola pasta, cooked like a risotto with fresh vegetables. Yum.
There’s a delicious edge to Le Chien de Pavlov, but unlike so many “trendy” restaurants, this one has true substance. The decoration is basic, with an odd touch of eccentric charm, but money has been spent on the important things, like the food, the glass and tableware.
Verdict: Le Chien de Pavlov definitely has its priorities right - great food, good wine list and excellent value for money. Make sure you check this one out.
They also offer cooking lessons, which I imagine would be both informative and great fun.
Lowdown: A la carte menu that changes regularly. Lunch - Starters : 6€. Mains : 13€. Puddings : 6€. Dinner - Starters : 5 – 10€. Mains : 14 – 19€. Puddings : 6€
Open: Lunch : Wednesday – Saturday. Dinner : Tuesday – Saturday. Brunch : Sunday
Garopapilles, 62 rue de l’Abbé de l’Epée.
www.garopapilles.com. Tel 09 72 45 55 36.
Garopapilles has had people chattering ever since it opened in April 2014. This is grown up food, but without the pomp and pretension that one usually has to endure when eating at this level. I don’t remember ever eating this kind of food in Bordeaux, even in the top restaurants, and Garopapilles could easily stand its own in Paris.
Located just off Place Gambetta (easy parking), the simple elegance of Garopapilles embodies Tanguy Laviale’s cooking style – classic, clean, luxuriant, modern and attentive to the smallest details, such as the second-hand oak floor that they brought to Bordeaux from Champagne.
Tanguy has worked with some of France’s top chefs. His classic training shines through, but his food also has an exciting originality and refreshing sensitivity, elegance and intensity of taste. This is impressive stuff, even more impressive as he does all of this alone, from an open kitchen.
His menu du marché changes daily and is explained by enthusiastic and appreciative staff who wish you “bon voyage” at the start of your meal, as they lay down a small plate of delicious amuses-bouche that grab your attention and set the tone of what is to come.
The lunch menu offers a starter, main course and dessert with the option of two glasses of wine selected by Gael, the chef de cave, from the 200 bins available in their wine shop.
Which leads us to the other fabulous thing about Garopapilles – its wine selection. A range of wines (and beers) from all over France, and elsewhere, sold at cracking prices both in the shop and in the restaurant. They even have chilled Champagne to go, although I’m not sure why anyone would want to go elsewhere.
As one friend said, the food is “sensational”. Smoked tuna and foie gras. St Pierre with the lightest of breadcrumbs. Stunning lamb with sauces so intense that you just know they took hours of prep. Cherries quickly warmed in salted butter, with brioche and white chocolate mousse. Tanguy manages to combine lightness and intensity with every element. Even the bread is homemade.
Verdict: There are only 20 covers, so if you’re planning a trip to Bordeaux book now. When you do get there, sit back, enjoy a chilled glass of wine in their walled herb garden, peruse their wine list and let Tanguy take you on a journey. This is truly great stuff.
Lowdown: Menu du marché. Lunchtime (starter, main, dessert): 32€. Dinner (five course tasting menu): 59€
Open: Restaurant Lunch : Tuesday – Friday. Dinner : Thursday & Friday. Wine Shop Tuesday – Saturday: 10h00 – 19h30
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