Sue Style gives her verdict on L'Oustalet restaurant...
Originally published in Decanter magazine in partnership with Hine Cognac
L’Oustalet, Place Gabrielle Andéol
84190 Gigondas, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 65 85 30
- Rating: 8/10
- Restaurant style: Mediterranean
- Open Tuesday to Saturday
- Lunch menus: €36/€42/€46
- Dinner menus: €60/€82/€96
- Wine pairings: €32/€44/€52
- Wine to try: 25 wines by the glass, including Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets and top Châteauneuf-du-Pape – as you’d expect from a winery co-owned by the Perrin family of Beaucastel fame.
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Grandma,’ asked my 11-year- old grandson as we sped down the Autoroute du Soleil heading for L’Oustalet, ‘do you think there’ll be lamb on the menu?’ I promised we’d ask.
The restaurant, a typical, bleached stone Provençal house on the village square, is jointly owned by the Perrin family (of Rhône wine fame) and chef Laurent Deconinck.
After stints with Michel Rostang, Pierre Gagnaire and Raymond Blanc, Deconinck joined the Perrins as their house chef, travelling the world with them and devising dishes to match their wines. In 2009 they opened the restaurant together.
The menu is two pages of succinct simplicity. One features seasonal suggestions that you can order à la carte or weave into a small menu; the second has three larger menus, and wine pairings on top.
My grandson’s delighted eye landed on a rack of lamb, ambitiously garnished (and priced – at €46). We asked about a smaller, less elaborate portion.
The waiter disappeared to consult the chef and returned, wreathed in complicitous smiles. Two succulent noisettes resting on a pillow of mashed potato were declared ‘the best thing ever’.
The chef smiled on us too with monkfish in almond milk with pink ginger, perfectly paired with a glass of Condrieu from Gerin, and rare beef rolled in crushed juniper with shallot confit, with Cal Demoura’s spicy, silky red blend L’Infidèle.
The only snag about the wine list, concocted by Deconinck and sommelier Hugo Boulay, is that it’s so comprehensive that conversation or food ordering may go on hold while you bury yourself in its 28 pages.
Hats off to the Perrins too, since the scope extends far beyond their own wines: alongside the legendary Château de Beaucastel in multiple vintages (€104 for 2011, €750 for Hommage à Jacques Perrin) and sundry bottles from the Famille Perrin range, there’s plenty of interest from the likes of Roc d’Anglade in Gard (white and red) or Anne Gros in Minervois (La Ciaude), all at the €40 or €50 mark.
Best of all – so rare in France – at least 25 decent wines (Didier Dagueneau Silex, Châteauneuf from De la Janasse or a Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets) come by the glass.
Summary: ‘I’ll be back’
Full-blooded Mediterranean food, an exemplary wine list, and a big heart – L’Oustalet is my kind of place. When the bill arrived (€170 for three of us), my grandson’s dish came in under ‘menu enfant’ at €16. I’ll be back in January for the Menu Truffe, starring sexy black slivers of local truffles in every conceivable guise.
Sue Style is a widely published freelance writer on wine, food and travel
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