Friday, July 24, 2009

Lunch at Jean Marie Amat Restaurant in Bordeaux

Since May 8 is a holiday in France, we were not sure if we would find restaurants open. So the evening before we attempted to make an online reservation at the very famous Jean Marie Amat in the gutted Chateau du Prince Noir. Barnard from Chateau Monlot had recommended it – providing a nice article written by the New York Times. However, by morning we had still not heard back from them, so I telephoned and was delighted to hear them say they had received my request and were holding a table for us at 1pm.

Unfortunately finding the restaurant is much more difficult than making online reservations. We got hopelessly lost in the old and hilly town of Lormont across the bridge from Bordeaux. We finally called the restaurant for directions and they asked if we had a GPS. When we said no, I could hear them sigh into the telephone. Eventually however, we found it by their clue that it was behind a grocery store.

The site is impressive – encased in the old Chateau overlooking the bridge. D├ęcor is modern with white Corian tables and no table cloths. I really enjoyed the large framed photographs of the hands of winemakers. We ordered the famous 30E lunch menu with glasses of white and red wine. It was absolutely heaven, and the service was perfect. I would eat here again anytime.

The lunch menu started with an amuse bouche of fish soup. First course was tartare de thon aux olives, which looked like a sculpture on the plate with a pleasing scoop of beet sorbet. We enjoyed both of these dishes with a white Graves. Next was pastille de pigeon et salade d’herbes. Mike described it as spicy pigeon with pine nuts, saffron and cinnamon encased in pastry. It was heavenly. The salad was the freshest I’ve ever tasted with mint, basil, and a spring carrot that looked like it had just been picked from the garden. We had this course with a Bordeaux Rouge that was very well made. Dessert was ananas – a masterpiece of caramelized and grilled pineapple on a bed of chopped mango, apple, tiny strawberries and garnish of fresh spearmint. It was served with a side of pineapple sorbet. We finished with coffee, canales, and small petite fours. Wow!

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