L’Aubergade (Puymirol, France) – Three Star Trama Truffles
Michel Trama held 2 Michelin stars for 20 years before being promoted to three in 2004. The hotel/restaurant is located in Puymirol, France atop a hill behind old stone walls. It’s an old 15th century monastery that has undergone considerable transformation while still maintaining its sense of place – you feel as if you’ve traveled somewhere, unlike the modern machinations of Michel Bras’s spaceship in the Laguiole countryside.
Inside, the lobby has been described as “bordello-like” with its leather chairs and eclectic mix of furniture and paintings.
The main dining room is hushed and medieval, setting the tone, possibly, for food worship. The various stag horn chandeliers lend an aura of antiquity and rustic elegance.
This is easy dining – come downstairs whenver you like, peruse the menu over champagne, and retire to the lounge after dinner for cigars and armagnac.
A collection of amuses that neither impressed nor disappointed though I’d suggest he stay out of the sushi business.
2. La Crevette a l’emulsion de noix de coco
Overcooked shrimp but the interplay between the two sweetnesses (shrimp and coconut) was akin to a dance – a very satisfying sensation. The “seeds” provided an acidic burst that gave the dish its dimension and balance. This could have been a remarkable dish if the shrimp were properly cooked (re: hardly at all.) Very Good.
3. L’estofinado de morue << Nouvelle version >>
An exceedingly light and airy cod (and shrimp) mousse where the taste would change just as subtly with each topping – aioli, green bean, and red pepper / tomato. Given the surroundings, an ethereal and contemplative dish. Excellent.
5. Lobster Ravioli w/ Black Truffle
An (expensive) addition to the regular tasting menu – it took a fair amount of negotiating to replace an unwanted dish with this truffle supplement. The ravioli was obviously not cooked by an Italian – it was just overcooked. The truffle sauce was quite sweet, but it was more of a cloying sweetness that didn’t complement the lobster. Overall, a muddled dish that should return to the drawing board. Good.
6. Du chou fleur prepare comme un risotto
Cauliflower cooked as risotto, these sort of “risottos” seem to be popping up more and more (see the sunflower seed risotto at Keyah Grande) – not offensive but certainly not the best example either. The texture of tiny florets was convincing and satisfying while the flavor was mild but flavorful. Good.
7. Le foie gras chaud poele au cedrat
Average foie quality that lacked richness, the lemon chutney was certainly acidic. Ok.
8. Papollote de pomme de terre a la truffe
The earthy spinach and truffles (with truffle jus) combined for the most decadent potato served in the world that night. This more than made up for the previous 3 dishes and put the meal back on track. It certainly would not win any beauty awards. Very Good.
9. Le pigeonneau roti aux epices
Cooked perfectly with intense flavor. The spinach reduction lent an earthiness that was nearly chocolate in taste and texture. Very Good.
A very nice collection of desserts though the cigar holds nothing to the Can Roca version. Very Good.
11. More Desserts
Overall, a very good meal. I would not rate this meal 3 stars but it was high 2. It was convincing enough that I would try it again, preferably in the spring or summer months so I can enjoy the outside dining courtyard. It’s an expensive experience but one of the finest in France when you factor in the hotel and grounds.
Official Site: http://www.aubergade.com/anglais/restaurant.html
Other Reviews: Andy Hayler’s Restaurant Guide 10/10