Dinner at Oustaù de Baumanière
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I really was looking forward to this meal. Oustau de Baumanière was declining until Glenn Viel took over. I had a great lunch there in September 2018 and saw the resurrection. It was exciting. And the Guide Michelin also noticed and rewarded them with the return of the third star.
However, I am not sure what happened. Maybe Mr. Viel is pushing too hard, maybe the budget is tied after the pandemic, I don't know.
There were bright spots, like the snails from St Remy de Provence in garlic and mushroom juice, the first dish which gave me great hope. The wonderful texture of the snails, paired with a lovely acidity and umami from the mushroom composed a great dish. The Milk-fed lamb with Tétragone » spinach and seaweed and « Marinière » lamb juice, a classic, was as good as it gets.
The second dish, Intense and strong, smooth red mullet came in three parts, whereas the tartare was ok, but the intense cream was not. Salty, too strong, simply boring.
The «Croque» Cod, tarragon creamy, a signature of Mr. Viel to reinterpret sandwiches, has a middle layer of cod. The cod was processed and pressed. This created a fish cake like texture and took away all the taste.
The food was simply not good and underwhelming for a newly minted three star place.
Add to this the absolutely packed dining room (totally understandable after the pandemic), which pushed the front of the house to and maybe even beyond its limits. The bill is not paid at the table but on the way out, where they have installed a bar with a cashier like in a chain restaurant. Together it made it a disappointing meal.
But there is always hope. I believe in the skills of Mr. Viel and will come back. I trust it has been one of those off-days.