I enjoyed a mid-week lunch date with my friends Jeremy, Denis and Cuchi at La Table de Léo, a lovely restaurant in the pretty village of Saint-Avit-Senieur, located 13 kilometres south-east/20 minutes from Lanquais.
As with all restaurants here, it is highly recommended to book in advance, even if just to check that they are open. Mondays can be particularly problematic! It is also worth going a little early to have time for a stroll around this lovely village. Its pretty square boasts gift shops and an imposing UNESCO listed abbey.
It was my second visit, and I was not disappointed on either occasion.
The restaurant has two dining rooms – downstairs and upstairs, with a ground floor bar leading to an open kitchen at the back. In the summer, you can dine outside on the terrace. The restaurant’s website describes its cuisine as traditional, semi-gastronomic.
There are three menus to choose from, with a sensibly (and seasonally) limited range of entrees, main plates and desserts, plus an excellent cheese board. A bottle of wine from the Rhone valley was swiftly selected from the decent wine list: Crozes Hermitage Les Jalets 2020 from Paul Jaboulet Aîné.
For my entree I chose the smoked mackerel with delicate cubes of potato and a cold leek velouté. This dish was delivered to the table in a lidded bowl which was theatrically removed, releasing its smoky aroma. The flavour and texture truly lived up to the drama: perfectly balanced flavours of smoked fish and a delicate leek sauce. This was my favourite dish of the day.
For our main courses, we all chose, and thoroughly enjoyed the cod cooked with saffron, mussels, carrot and fennel. Everything was really well cooked.
Dessert was a sharp lemon meringue pie with the meringue served as shards: a perfectly sweet finish to the meal.
The cost for a three course lunch plus cheese, aperitif, mid-priced wine and coffee was around €60 each (November 2022).