By: Salli

Our good friends and fellow Francophiles Salli and Jerome, who live in Southwest France, report on another recent notable meal in their area.

We had visited L’Auberge Côté Jardin in Conilhac-Corbieres, between Narbonne and Carcassonne, a few weeks ago and decided to return for Sunday lunch, a much more elaborate meal than our first. Though perhaps too much for the hot day, with a long drive to follow, we were again impressed with the quality of the food, even if we found the service a bit less organized. The restaurant was full, the terrace too, and there were three large family tables. The menu “Fil des Corbieres” is more expensive on Sunday (27 euros each) than other days of the week but certainly still a great value.

We started with a glass of white wine Roque Sestieres from the Corbieres, which was excellent with the amuse bouche, a sort of crunchy cole slaw with pistou and a red pepper mousse. For his first course, Jerome had a press de boeuf with summer truffle and a sauce ravigote, some tapenade and tomate. I had sardines grilles with a polenta cake, crushed tomatoes, and a bit of green salad. Jerome’s main course was a cassoulet, reconfigured by the chef, David Prevel, in a layered presentation, topped with more truffles and excellently cooked vegetables.

I had a fantastic roast chicken accompanied by a risotto, flavored with bacon, with a sweet and intense mousse of lard. We had a half bottle of a red Chateau Grand Moulin from Lesignan-Corbieres, a distinctly red berry-flavored wine. To finish, Jerome opted for the cheese plate, served with a gelee of quince. I had an unremarkable fruit tart, but the wonderful mignardises more than made up for it: fruit salad, mousse au caramel au beurre sale, and creme brelee!