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Saint-Émilion is rustic and picturesque. Hostellerie de Plaissance is located in the center of it sitting above the Place du Marché next to the Monolithic church (Clocher de l’eglise Monolithe).

The restaurant has a private courtyard that overlooks the square and restaurants below. We could have sat outside but due to the pollen, we opted to be inside.

We did not make a reservation and as it was a spur of the moment thing, just walked in very casually – so much so that the staff felt compelled to ask if we knew the restaurant has two Michelin stars. We thought it was a bit rude of them.

At the entrance, the dining room is partly hidden behind a lacquered curvy screen.

The dining room was not even half full – it was only the beginning of the season. We liked it this way.

The chef is Ronan Kervarrec. We chose a relatively simple menu with wine pairings.

We started with a number of appetizers, including churros (in the background of the photo).

Chefs like to use lentil to form a base, like soil, to present food constructions (second time we saw it in a few days).

Asparagus was in season (it was on all the menus during this trip). Here it was served as “Green asparagus braised in a chicken broth, frangipane tart with peanuts and zabaliglione”.

On the menu that they printed for us to keep, the second course is “Deep sea scallops poached in a stock sauce and cauliflower”. We pondered on the term “stock sauce” – it is so understated that is bordering on laziness or being mysterious.  The sauce was however very good whatever it was made with.

“Basil in small ravioli, vegetal broth, white cheese sorbet”. This was taken before the green vegetal broth was poured over it.

“Cherry amaretto, almond soufflé and cherry sorbet crisp macaroons”

We added a cheese course to the menu to go with the wines.

Assorted desserts.

They also made a miniature canelé served on top of a brass full-size canelé mould. Very popular in Bordeaux, canelé is a pastry flavored with rum and vanilla having a soft and tender custard center, and a dark, thick caramelized crust.

We had coffee and not tea, otherwise, we would have been offered a selection of fresh herb leaves that are plucked directly from potted plants. It was fun to see the potted plants being carted around the dining room – certainly caught the eyes of some diners. It is chic to do it now, even our office canteen started having these live plants around the coffee/tea areas.

According to Wikipedia, Plaisance is a French word, meaning pleasantness, derived from the Latin placentia ‘acceptable things’. Google Translate offers “recreation”, and it is not “pleasure” as we jokingly suggested.

We noticed a certain well known, local wine – the “white horse” – in its collection.

A fine establishment indeed. Highly recommended.

 

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