Best Languedoc Restaurant in the Summer – L’Auberge du Presbytère

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

L’Auberge du Presbytère is a gourmet French restaurant not far from the village of Vailhan, at the centre of the Herault department. The restaurant overlooks the lower lake of the Barrage (dam) des Olivettes and from the terrace you have a spectacular panoramic view of the Massif Viel Castel.

The produce is always fresh and mostly local, and the chef Baptiste uses seasonal produce in imaginative and delicate ways. Saffron, basil, red quinoa, green beans, celeriac and courgette feature alongside delicious meats and fish.

They offer a selection of fine goats cheese from the Mas Rolland farm very close by in Montesquieu as well as a seasonal cheese selection; both accompanied by sucrine lettuce and hazelnut oil. Wild peach, blueberries, redcurrants and prunes are used in a range of inventive desserts and they serve an extensive list of regional wines.

Baptiste and Marine manage to maintain simplicity whilst introducing many different flavours to their dishes. It works; the salmon Carpaccio was perfectly cut and served fresh without seasoning, allowing the anchovy and parmesan sauce (served artistically beside the fish) to complement but not overpower it. The saffron sauce was full of flavour and the light, succulent courgette added refreshment to the dish. The end result was a truly flavoursome and fresh.

Their presentation is smart and simple, yet not too refined (portion sizes are spot on). Spiralled metal chairs and a simple green and white colour scheme fit effortlessly with the historical beauty of the church and the abundance of greenery surrounding it.

We arrived as the sun was beginning to set behind the mountain, casting a low, warm light on the whole restaurant. It was so tranquil to sit facing the stunning valley from the terrace. What’s more, the service was quick and friendly and Baptiste served the amuse bouche to each table, beautifully describing what we were about to savour.

        



Our conclusion: for locally-sourced, imaginative cuisine in a beautiful, serene setting with service the way it should be, the price is good.

Don’t forget to walk around Vailhan before or after your meal; see the Dam and lake des Olivettes and take the winding road between the mountains- past vegetable gardens, churches and flower-lined pathways from the village to the restaurant.

Stay in the nearby Chateau St Marthe – it is only 15 minutes drive from the Auberge de Presbytere and has it’s own private tennis court, large pool and a beautiful nature park as well as fantastic views over the surrounding vineyards – pictures below: