Le Caillau, situated near Vire sur Lot, nestles serenely in a picturesque valley amongst a collection of vineyards, exactly what you would expect from a 300 year old winery. The selection of buildings radiate around a beautiful courtyard with its central fountain covered in flowers as the focal point.
As you wander through the distinctive and characterful metal gates at the entrance, you are met with an air of tranquility as the various eating areas come into view. The indoor restaurant, the open barn filled with a mix of different tables and chairs, lit by large ornate chandeliers and then the courtyard itself, where the tables sit beneath the summery parasols for that all important shade on a warm sunny day.
We were shown to our table, given menus and offered an aperitif – I chose the local sparkling wine which was recommended, and was not disappointed, as it was a delight. Also, it was great to know that it was made a mere kilometre away from where I was sitting – now that’s what I call local produce!
The menu read beautifully, offering the perfect combination of contemporary dishes using local ingredients. I had already earmarked dishes I could try on my next visit
A La Carte dishes
The starters included chilli garlic vegetables and goats cheese fritters, tomato chutney, rocket and toasted seed salad or seared scallops, asian herb sauce, crunchy vegetables with lime dressing and roasted crushed chilli peanuts.
Then for main course slow cooked roulade of pork, gratin dauphinois, smoked bacon, beans, peas and a cherry cider sauce or seared tuna steak, potatoes with tomatoes and herbs, samphire, roasted vegetables and a chorizo sauce.
Of course you had to make room for desserts such as baked kirsch chocolate tart with cherry sorbet or what about mint and lemon catalana with raspberry compote.
Menu du Jour
Choosing a dish was always going to be difficult and then became even more problematic when we were told of their menu du jour. A main course, dessert, glass of wine and coffee for 13.50 euros.
When I then learned that the main course was a duo of home smoked salmon and haddock on a bed of summer green vegetables with a cream sauce and aubergine caviar – my decision was made. Backed up by the nods of approval from the people on a neighbouring table who had already sampled this beautifully created dish.
The house red wine – a Malbec of course in these parts – was lovely as well, and the option of an organic variety is well worth a try with its powerful yet smooth flavour, and was again, very locally produced.
Wine Tasting and Food Pairing
Every Wednesday during July, August and September from 5.30 -7pm for 30 euros per person you can enjoy a wonderful eating, drinking and learning experience – what could be better?
- Learn about local independent wines
- How to match food and wine
- Taste 6 local wines accompanied by produce of the region
- Gain advice about where to buy wines in the Lot
Why does Le Caillau stand out?
What I loved about Le Caillau was the balance they have achieved between seasonal elements, decor, ambience and location, in order to create something really special. That recipe of local produce meeting with more unusual ingredients to offer the unique, whilst still retaining the classic methods that epitomise French cuisine.
This restaurant is forward thinking, not only in the design of new dishes, but through constantly evolving and by adding its own stamp, such as home smoked produce. For Le Caillau, their passion for new ideas, combined with their use of very local produce, creates the perfect recipe for their success.