La Cave Saint Martin | Natural wine bar | Roquebrun | France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

La Cave Saint Martin
Restaurants and bars
Open: Fri - Mon
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 4 67 24 56 49
Address: 26 Avenue du Roc de l'Estang
Roquebrun, 34460
Country: France

La Cave Saint Martin in the pretty town of Roquebrun in southern France is a perfect place to sit on the terrace and enjoy a plate of very good organic charcuterie while sipping a natural wine from the impressive selection in their cellar.
Everyone from Herve Villemade to Eric Pfifferling from l'Anglore, to a dazzling array of local producers (particularly from the Saint Chinian appellation where the Carignan grape variety is king) are represented on the shelves just inside the door. Further inside there is an epicerie section where you can buy some of the best charcuterie and anchovies and sardines available. It is a veritable fairyland of possibilities.
We were so impressed with our first visit here that we jumped at an opportunity to return to this remote village deep in the wilds of the Languedoc. The scenery here is spectacular with the jagged hills covered by thick bush broken by vineyards and dramatic limestone outcrops. We took the D909 from Bedarieux down through Faugeres and Laurens before entering the deep, steep gorges carved out by the Orb river near Roquebrun.
People come here from all over the word to either enjoy the adventure lifestyle by canoeing down the gorges or to do the opposite and lie on the rocky "beaches" and swim in the crystal clear pools that dot the area.
As our idea of adventure is looking for good food and wine we avoided the temptation to do any canoing and instead headed directly for Cave Saint Martin. The cave is on one side of the D19 and the lovely shaded terrace overlooking the Orb river is on the other side. Staff dash backwards and forwards across the road which can get quite busy at the height of the summer influx of tourists.
The food here is a cut above the average so we headed for our table on the shaded terrace looking forward to the meal that awaited us.

Approaching Cave Saint Martin

The shaded terrace at Cave Saint Martin

As we mentioned above, the patrons of this charming restaurant head over the road to the shaded terrace overlooking the Orb river.

The Cave Saint Martin menu

There is always a selection of daily specials on the chalkboard menu shown above. Around the terrace there are also more chalkboards with the more regular offerings such as charcuterie plates. We started the meal with some excellent jamon and then turned to the daily specials.

Raw tuna dish


From the chalkboard menu we particularly enjoyed the carpaccio de thon shown above which saw thin slices of raw, red tuna lying atop house-made tzatziki. The fish was incredibly fresh and host Raymond told us that he uses a fisherman who works out of Agde on the coast and who delivers fresh fish caught the previous night. This was a very tasty dish.

A dish of freshly-caught Espardon (Sword Fish)

Raymond announced when we arrived that there were a couple of dishes not on the menu, including some very fresh sword fish. When it arrived it was cooked exactly as we prefer where it was still undercooked but the heat of the central bone was enough to keep the fish cooking on the plate. It was served very simply and was also delicious.

A dessert of vanilla pannacotta with peaches and apricots

A "coupe" of pannacotta with stewed peaches and apricots finished a delghtful meal.

The epicerie at Cave Saint Martin

After the meal we wandered intot he epicerie to purchase some items for our forthcoming journey.

Nardin anchovies

We spotted some Nardin anchovies in the fridge which proved to us that here they know the very best produce. These anchovies are outstanding - some of the best we have ever eaten in all our travels.

A glimpse of the extensive wine collection

The cave here is famous for its collection of natural wines, many of which have no added sulphites. We were lucky enough to find some very obscure local wines (many based on the Carignan grape so beloved in this region) as well as some old favourites from other regions of France and some from Spain which were particularly delicious.

We are very much looking forward to our next visit here.

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