Wednesday, September 8, 2010

L'Oustalet Restaurant, Gigondas

We have been back in Provence for a few days now and we are loving each day in what is for wife Shirley and me a truly magical place. Yesterday, September 7 was my birthday.

For my first celebratory meal of the day (we were already scheduled to meet cousins in Nîmes for a birthday dinner), we decided to eat déjeuner - lunch at l'Oustalet Restaurant in the neighboring village of Gigondas.

As I have told you in a previous post, Gigondas is 6 km south of Sablet on the D-7 in the direction of Carpentras. Look for the small village up on the hill below the Dentelles de Montmirail on the left side of the road.

L'Oustalet Restaurant is located in the center of the village at Place Gabriel Andéol where the Mairie -town hall, and the Caveau du Gigondas - wine growers cooperative are located.

Gigondas is absolutely an essential stop for lovers of big red wines. You can taste more than 100 different bottles of Gigondas wine at the Caveau du Gigondas free of charge and you can purchase any of these wines for the same price as they are sold at the domaine. But I digress.

L'Oustalet Restaurant has a pretty, small, wood-beamed dining room and a tree-shaded terrace where you can sit and watch all of the activities in the center of the village. The restaurant was recently taken over and refurbished by the Perrin family who own Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape. The chef is Aurélien Laget who was previously sous-chef at Maison Bru in Eygalières.

We arrived without reservations but were immediately seated at a small table. Right away, the young man who seated us walked to the open kitchen and announced "nous sommes complet" - we are full, although we were the first diners to be seated.

The table was simply set with a jar of bread sticks and a small dish containing black oil-cured olives and some sesame purée to enjoy with the bread sticks.

Wife Shirley ordered a glass of 2009 Domaine de Longue Toque Gigondas rosé and I ordered a glass of 2006 Domaine du Terme Gigondas to enjoy while we looked over the printed menu and "Déjeuner à l’Ardoise", literally lunch on the slate menu shown on the slate blackboard.

We both ordered three courses off the "Déjeuner à l’Ardoise" menu for 28 Euros which features dishes based upon what the chef buys at the market that day.

Our first course was poached egg in cream of artichoke with sauteed mushrooms, a lovely combination.

For her main course, wife Shirley chose roasted St Pierre - John Dory served over eggplant purée and perfectly cooked and seasoned coco beans.

I chose filet of beef cooked à point - medium rare as ordered. It was served with a mousseline of artichokes, sautéed chanterelle mushrooms and garlic confit. I was very happy with my dish.

To finish her meal, Shirley chose Saint-Marcellin cheese marinated in garlic and thyme and served with a fresh greens and herbs salad.

To complete my meal, I chose poached white peaches served over pain perdu - french toast and delicious peach ice cream. The peaches were cooked just right, done but still had some bite so they were not mushy. A fabulous late summer dessert.

I told Shirley that based upon that meal, l'Oustalet Restaurant may be my new favorite restaurant in our little corner of the Vaucluse. I wouldn't recommend that you show up without reservations; you might not be so lucky as we were to get the last table.


  1. If possible purchase the wines you enjoy directly from the producer. They will profit greatly from your visit. Enjoy.

  2. We loved Gigondas, but I think we missed this Caveau, bummer! Cherry and Kiirsten

  3. I'm keeping a list of little spots around Provence that I would like to visit in case a free Saturday ever pops up, I can be ready to go. Caveau du Gigondes is going on the list, thanks :-)

  4. How lovely to spend your birthday in Provence!Happy Belated birthday!

  5. Thank you for the birthday wishes.

    Cindy and Joe, I always visit the wineries and taste there when I can. However, there is no way to get a chance to experience the full range of Gigondas like you can when you visit the Caveau de Gigondas.

    Cherry and Kiirsten, I should have made sure I told you to check out the caveau.

    Sara, a visit to Gigondas is well worth while and a visit to the Caveau is a must. Also, several very good options for lunch.

  6. Happy birthday! What a lovely celebratory meal!