Bordeaux being the bread and butter of our business we find ourselves eating our way round the city on a regular basis. The beauty of having so many friends in the region and like us, all driven by a passion for food and drink, recommendations are easy to come by. Below are a couple of highlights from recent visits.
Tentazioni Restaurante, 59 Rue du Palais-Gallien, Bordeaux
This is a relatively new restaurant in town and we were introduced to it by our good friend Jeffrey Davis who is so excited about this place it became clear it was an absolute must during our en primeur visit in April.
Tentazioni is an Italian restaurant run by a young couple who originate from Sardinia but have worked in Michelin star restaurants in Turin, Milan and Corsica have been in Bordeaux now for the almost two years. When you have had your fill of fois gras, veau de lait and steak frittes, which let’s face it is pretty quickly, this Italian restaurant is the perfect respite. The food is no ordinary simple stodgy Italian comfort food, the food has all the lightness of haute cuisine but the depth of flavour and satisfaction you only really get from proper Italian food. The entire meal was really spellbinding.
We were in the hands of the kitchen and dishes were bought out at intervals selected by the chef along with some blind wine tasting of some Italian classics, made for my kind of evening.
The highlights had to be the Langoustine ceviche with caviar and rhubarb sorbet. The freshness and texture of the fish was exquisite, the small dollops of clotted cream and the ice cold rhubarb sorbet subtly building flavours and coolness in the mouth and the caviar giving a balancing sharp zippy saline zing on the finish. Probably one of the best plates of food I have ever eaten. After being knocked off my chair by the first course I knew the evening would be a memorable one.
This was followed by a beautiful green pea risotto with huge amounts of fresh morel mushrooms. The rice had that perfect bite you just can’t get at home and the meaty morels were a rare treat. The main course was a sous vide piece of lamb (not normally something I would go for) but brilliantly executed and served with peas and French beans that had a thin strip of lardo melted over the top, a clever touch that looked and tasted delicious.
With a great Italian wine list when you have maxed out on claret, a homely relaxed atmosphere and very reasonable price this is a restaurant I would visit again and again. If you are fortunate enough to go, pray they are serving the langoustine ceviche and you will not be disappointed.
L’Univerre Restaurant, 40 Rue Lecocq, Bordeaux
Our second recommendation is not really for the food, lovely though it is, but for the jaw dropping wine list and if I am honest I am not talking about the Bordeaux section. The selection of rare burgundy on their wine list at amazingly affordable prices makes it very hard to steer away from it. On two separate visits I ended up selecting 9 wines and all of them were…burgundy!
This restaurant really has some of the top benchmark growers in the Côte d’Or. Unlike in much of Burgundy itself the list is full of good vintages with enough bottle age that is worth getting excited about. Rousseau, Raveneau, Roulot, Ponsot, Grivot, Duroche and many many more leaves you drooling down the list. The food menu in comparison is comfortingly small and freshly prepared with the menu changing everyday. If you are in no rush you could happily spend an evening working through cult wine classics and not even get close to feeling you have got the best from the list, which keeps you coming back, something I myself intend to be doing.
And the list is not just Burgundy they have fantastic Rhône, Bordeaux and Loire options too. This restaurant is not unique in France but rare in such a touristy place such as Bordeaux. It is one of those great restaurants you sometimes come across in France run by wine enthusiast who invest heavily into a wine list so much so that it draws an international wine fanatics wowed by the choice and the fair pricing. It is a real gem in the Bordeaux restaurant scene.