My week in the Provence gave me the opportunity to try some restaurants and l’Oustalet Gigondas had a slight history with me. After quite a number of years I have now been able to try the restaurant. It was a fateful holiday trip some years ago, autumn if I remember, I was holidaying in the Provence cycling on a tandem. The wind was high and time was not with us as we pedalled furiously to make it into Gigondas to find lunch. In the continual rush, we burst into l’Ostalet Gigondas in our cycling lycras to request a table for lunch. I still remember the register of ‘OMG’ as it was Sunday, and everyone in the restaurant was decked out in their Sunday best while we were lycra attired and slightly glowing!
However, the restaurant staff did not bat an eyelid, but did apologetically informed us that they were fully booked, and, why did I remember l’Oustalet Gigondas all this time? I remember for they were extremely helpful and friendly. Even though they were fully booked, they immediately telephoned around for somewhere we could go to for lunch (that wasn’t too far away), secured a table for us and reassured us that the restaurant would wait for our arrival, and then gave us explicit instructions on how to get to the restaurant. So that fateful day, we discovered Domain de la Ponche in Vacqueyras.
So back to the present, on a very pleasant and sunny day, we had lunch at l’Oustalet Gigondas, sitting outside in front of the restaurant under the trees. The items of the seasonal menu were explained by Chef Laurent Deconinck himself and as his website indicates, he is a great believer in matching food and wine. We were recommendation several different types of wines to go with the dishes that we chose, and as I certainly couldn’t handle a glass of wine per dish, my host, very knowledgeable in the wines of this region, chose from the suggestions made.
As you can see from the images of the dishes, they were extremely delicious, beautifully presented, and above all, the produce used were extremely fresh. I would say freshness is the key word I would use to describe the cuisine from Laurent Deconinck, and his use of fresh produce, for example, the shoots of peas to decorate a dish.
I have also found on this occasion, that drinking sparkling water pushes the alcohol content of the wine through my body much faster – as I was struggling to balance my red face from the wine, and feeling remotely comfortable as a result of it. The waiting staff are all extremely friendly and helpful, and one seeing our oriental appearance immediately informed me that he had been to Singapore … now how did he know I was from Singapore?