Two good addresses

My new friend, Sue Style, writes a singularly tempting food blog – and was lamenting the dearth of decent restaurants and good food in the Languedoc, when she came by on a recent visit.  However there are two addresses that I would happily recommend to her.

L’Auberge du Presbytère in Vailhan

This little restaurant changed hands earlier this year and is now run by a young couple who are charming and enthusiastic.   And Madame was an interior designer in a previous life and has significantly improved the décor and lighting.  They keep the menu simple, a choice of three dishes per course, and the wine list is also small and pretty local.  I was there last Monday with a friend; we had the most delicious mussel and leek concoction – it was a bit more solid than a soup – followed some succulent pork from a pata negra pig, while my husband enjoyed some roast monkfish.   And to drink we enjoyed le Blanc 2011 from Turner Pageot, a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne, which was subtly rounded with elegant fruit, followed by a wine from an estate that is new to me, Le Mas de Mon Père at Arzens near Carcassonne.  Comme Toujours, is a blend of Syrah and Grenache, made with minimal sulphur dioxide, with some lovely fresh spicy fruit.  It went deliciously with both pork and monkfish. 

Côté Mas 

And at lunch time yesterday we tried Côté Mas, the new restaurant attached to domaine Paul Mas, on the route de Villeveyrac outside Montagnac.   The restaurant is light and airy, and there are two terraces for fine weather.  But autumn is coming in the Languedoc, so we were inside.   Again a short menu, on a blackboard, a choice of three or four dishes per course.   Jean-Claude Mas was around to explain that he had found a talented young chef, who had already worked in various top restaurants both in France and Japan, and there was indeed an oriental touch to his dishes.  I had a delicious pumpkin soup, garnished with a frothy mousse and an appetising piece of boudin noir, and for my main course a delicious salad of fresh leaves, while my friends enjoyed some cod with a tasty risotto on the side, and some cheese followed.   The list is naturally based on the wines from Domaines Paul Mas, but these include estates in Limoux and the Terrasses du Larzac, as well as more popular brands such as the arrogant Frog.  So we drank a Mauzac Limoux from Domaine Martinolles, which was fresh and understated and Alexaume from Domaine Crès-Ricards, a blend of merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Syrah, ICP Mont Baudile, which was rounded and spicy with a touch of tapenade.

Sue, please do come back and try them


AlanM said…
The Presbytere has certainly improved since the change of ownership, though the price has gone up too. It's such a lovely spot too. I didn't realise Mas had a restaurant, is that new? We popped along the road to the Abbaye de Valmagne and had a decent though not brilliant meal, next year we'll follow up the recommendation.
The Mimosa and Terrasse de Mimosa in Montpeyroux area, Pré St Jean and Entrepots in Pézenas etc seem to be perfectly good restaurants in the area??
Cote Mas is new - opened about a month ago.

Mimosa is closing at the end of the summer - David Pugh hasn't been able to sell it.

Terrasses de Mimosa is now run by David's sommelier. The last time I was there, the food was good, but the service had a touch of Fawlty Towers about it!

I hear that L'Entrepots changed hands earlier this year and several friends have said that it is no longer any good. A shame - I used to like it, and in fact preferred it to the Pre St. Jean.

We've also eaten at Amphitryon in Pezenas and enjoyed that.
Bastien said…
Dear Rosemary, I have mixed feelings about your restaurant's critic :

I was really disappointed with l'auberge du presbytère's new ownership : the food was not popping with any interesting flavours, it was really boring (a menu you would get in any bistro type restaurant, no more 3d plates and a 0% wow! factor), our red wine was extra warm and the service was rather average. The wine list has dangerously shrunk when the restaurant changed hands, and mostly favours the well established larger estates.

On the other hand, Coté Mas is a good pick for the food. The Japanese feel in some dishes is so refreshing (the tataki de thon with turnip spaghetti and wasabi is amazing !) The price at lunch (25 euros entrée plat dessert) is very reasonable. Too bad I am not keen on their wines, which at least are sold at estate price + 5 euros corkage fee.)

Did you try the baba au rhum at l'entrepots ? I really think it was excellent. Besides, the menu was classic, but pretty decent. And their wine list still sells Aurel Blanc (Basile St Germain) for 50 something euros !

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