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Archive for November, 2010

Home from home in Mayfair

Deep in the heart of Mayfair the South-West of France is alive and well. The wonderfully traditional Connaught Hotel on Carlos place, connau a stone’s through from Berkley square, is where daughter of the South West, Helene Darroze, set up shop in her eponymous restaurant and earnt her 1 michelin star.

The lunch deals are amazing starting from about £40 with an eclectic choice of wines by the glass influenced by France of course, although not exclusively the South West. However the cuisine has a South Western flavour in the choice of ingredients, with a nod to local seasonal dishes such as game, a very tempting white truffle menu and even an original take on a pumpkin dessert

– a humorous and delicious take on Thanksgiving perhaps?
The wait staff are young, attractive and international and the skill and sense of humour of the young and sommelier only adds to the pleasure of dining.

But all is not French ; typically English afternoon tea is served in the beautiful glass fronted Espelette restaurant where there is more accessible lunch and dinner menu and more buzz as you can watch the world go by.

You can take a Blonde out of Bordeaux, but you can’t take Bordeaux out of the Blonde!

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The funky restaurant on the top floor of the Bordeaux Modern Art Museum was opened 20 Years ago. A stone’s throw from the waterfront the restaurant reopened in September this year after renovation. Nothing has changed as far as the decor is concerned; the same monumental mud paintings by Richard Long still ordain the walls (mud from the Gironde next door I’ll have you know) and the restaurant has been re christened taking the name of the illustrious designer.
But it has all changed behind the scenes. The kitchens have been completely renovated where Philippe Gauffre is now in charge. A simple regional and seasonal menu is served every lunch time except Monday and Brunch is served on Sundays. Need some refreshment after all the very contemporary art ? They are open in the afternoon for snacks too. Access to the Museum is free for diners.

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A British lady in the kitchen and a wine journalist – jazz musician as sommelier is quite a daring proposition for a restaurant in French wine country. But it’s a great combination, La Table Rouge is in a beautiful spot on the banks of the Dordogne River in the little hamlet of Cancadoual across from Castillon la Bataille.
Kate Thomas originally from Liverpool as been cooking in Bordeaux for several years and, judging by her menu, has obviously grown to love the region and it’s products.
Fabien Barnes’ wine list is also mainly local heavily influenced by the bio dynamic wines produced using the consulting skills of Stephane Derenoncourt.
The views are spectacular, with a waterfront terrace for summer dining. Even on these cooler autumn days the glass-fronted restaurant makes the most of the view.
Open in the evenings and for lunch on the weekends.

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Can’t get much fresher than this – it’ still growing! Spotted at Hostellerie de Plaisance in Saint Emilion. Get there quick if you want to try it; they close from 19th December until 11th February next year

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