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Eugenie Les Bains

ManInTransit Jun 18, 2011 10:09 AM

Surprisingly a search of these boards yields no results for Michael Guerard's place in Aquitaine.

Has anyone been recently, particularly for the new-ish 100-euro lunch he is offering? I was wondering whether to make a detour on the way from Bordeaux to San Sebastian.

Many thanks.

  1. a
    amrx Jun 20, 2011 06:17 AM

    I would.

    1. mangeur Jun 20, 2011 07:01 AM

      If I could afford it, which I can't, I would stay at Les Maisons Marines d'Huchet, his ocean-side property some km west of Eugenie.


      1 Reply
      1. re: mangeur
        ManInTransit Jun 20, 2011 07:25 AM

        I looked at that when I was getting engaged, it looks absolutely beautiful but it seems as though you could get better value for the best part of 3,000EUR.

      2. PhilD Jun 20, 2011 03:14 PM

        Manin - have you checked Andy Hayler's blog? He has a great review but the comments slam it. Someone I know from Aus also blogged about it and he agrees with Andy - http://foodmiles.wordpress.com/2011/0...

        6 Replies
        1. re: PhilD
          ManInTransit Jun 21, 2011 01:48 AM

          Yes thanks Phil, Andy Hayler's blog is usually my first stop for these things and his standards are sometimes ridiculously high so if he loves it I figured that was praise enough. Yet his scores are so high that I wondered whether it just hit the nail on the head for him.
          I hadn't seen the comments though which are a little concerning about service etc.

          They do a 100EUR lunch menu which comes with wine with each course which sounds an excellent deal so I think I might do that and report back.

          1. re: ManInTransit
            ManInTransit Aug 10, 2011 03:55 AM

            Curious anomaly for a 3* restaurant that no one on Chowhound seems to have visited.

            A beautiful setting a little out of the way on the drive from Bordeaux to San Sebastian we were taken into a lovely but very antique dining room where we must have been the youngest diners by about 40 years. It should be said that they were extremely accommodating - they even translated the menu into English for my girlfriend after I asked in advance (assuming it was a fairly normal request having eaten at Gagnaire etc).

            Ate the three course lunch menu at Eur110 which includes generous continual pours of Michel Guerard's own wines, which meant it was a great shame I was driving.

            The standout dish was my girlfriend's starter. Croquembouche with lemon and langoustine. The langoustine was ceviche-like in texture and the lemon flavour complimented it in the most beautiful way and the edible flowers it was served with enhanced the flavour and texture as well as the presentation.
            My more earthy starter was morels, girolles, asparagus and black truffle in a creamy sauce. Very french, very rich and enjoyable although I did cast an envious glance at the Langoustine.

            Mains were incredibly rich, mine was duck's liver, pig's trotter and crayfish with a rich crispy outside served with an eel salad. Fascinating flavour combinations. My girlfriend's was a huge piece of duck cooked sous vide with sugared fois gras and three sorbets. The fois gras was one of the most decadent things I have ever tasted.

            Desserts were slightly less overwhelming - mine a bechamel sauce with a wonderful rhubarb ice cream that was just too rich as a dish and hers which I must apologise I can't remember offhand but I do know she was underwhelmed. Accompanied by petit fours of various riffs on glazed strawberry tartlets.

            Only negative we were charged I think Eur7 each for Nespresso coffee at the end of the meal!

            One thing it is worth mentioning about Eugenie. When Michel Guerard's daughters were born in 1983 and 1986, he and his wife bought and laid down a huge amount of top class Bordeaux wines. The daughters decided to donate them to the restaurant to be drunk at reasonable prices. And they are astounding. Lynch Bages 1986 half bottle for Eur65, 1983 Petrus for 880 and numerous other examples that I can't recall the exact figures for. From what I could gather they sell in the restaurant at prices marginally below what you can buy them for at retail in the UK.

            1. re: ManInTransit
              andaba Aug 12, 2011 03:06 AM

              I much prefer La Ferme aux Grives, which is Guerard's casual restaurant in Eugenie. Good French country cooking and a beautiful setting. We were rather letdown by the main restaurant, which is terribly expensive for what you get. If you want really interesting food,
              I'd save my Euros for Paris or San Sebastian.

              1. re: andaba
                allende Aug 12, 2011 02:11 PM

                And I much preferred Le Pot-au-Feu where he really cooked.

                1. re: andaba
                  souphie Aug 13, 2011 12:54 AM

                  I had the opposite experience when I went to both. While Guérard's genius is alive and well aux Prés d'Eugénie, la Ferme aux Grives was simply terrible, with bad ingredients, bad cooking, high prices, and a very uncomfortable setting. The house of course looks lovely, but that's not enough.

                  As for les Prés, it's one of those really expensive restaurants, in my opinion, not because of the price of one meal, which is still really high, but because the proper way to enjoy it is to stay there a couple of days, explore the spa and the menu. Stopping there for lunch is not unlike seeing monuments from the bus.

                  1. re: souphie
                    ManInTransit Aug 15, 2011 12:46 AM

                    I'm not sure about that Souphie, that seems a slightly patronising view although it's certainly one that Relais will be glad to hear people buy into.

                    We had a lovely time at Eugenie but also certainly saw enough to know it was definitely not somewhere for is to stay three nights. It would seem senseless to ignore it as a restaurant as a result.

                    My girlfriend ate what she considered one of the best dishes she has ever tasted there and we enjoyed some fabulous cooking and ingredients all for well under 250 euros.

                    I'm sorry to hear others didn't enjoy it, it certainly didn't blow me away in the same way it appears to have done Andy Hayler but in view of what I read about and expected it surprises me that anyone would be unduly disappointed.

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