La Tour Cassée | Restaurant | Natural wine | Ardeche | France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

La Tour Cassée HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Location: 44.500056, 4.574376
Open: Check Web site for seasonal opening times
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 4 75 52 45 32
Address: Le Village
Valvign?s, 07400
Country: France

La Tour Cassée, with its large "Café - Restaurant" sign dominating the building is a haven for those seeking excellent food and great wines while in the Ardeche. You won’t find any fussy, tricked-up food here, just excellent ingredients and highly competent cooking backed up by a great selection of natural wines from throughout France and beyond.
This is a restaurant with rooms in Valvignères, a village of less than 500 people in the Ardèche where proprietors Claire and Jean Claude have crafted an exciting wine list that not only features many of the best natural wine from throughout France but also allows you to sits on their charming terrace and enjoy the delights of a La Coste, one of Italy's best.
And now for a general word about the cooking we like. Often we find simple cooking in this area but the cooking is usually very good and there are no unnecessary bits - flavourless micro greens for example. Instead, applying the same principles to sourcing produce as for the wine usually means, as in this case, you get locally sourced ingredients full of flavour.
There are very few restaurants, fine dining or not, in Australia where you could eat a lettuce that tastes this good. The strength of the leaves was amazing.
So much about enjoyable eating is to do with provenance. So many gardeners and farmers have unwittingly helped ensure we have eaten so well in Provence and the Ardeche on our many visits.
An exemplary caillette (one of our all-time favourite members of the meatball species and a specialty in the south of France) was our first dish. We are ardent fans of meatballs when they are done well. The south of France is a particularly good place to sample the diversity of styles of this genre. Caillettes are simple meatballs from pork and (usually) spinach with the key to the texture being a clever addition of pork fat of some sort. The caillette we were served here was the best we have ever eaten. It was stunningly light and perfectly flavoured. Amazing!
Guinea fowl, potato purée (not quite as much butter or as smooth as Robuchon's but very good and without quite so much washing up) and zucchini and beans with plenty of flavour came next. It was an amazing dish. Great value for food and cooking of this quality.
We sat on the lovely terrace here with our host, Sylvain Bock and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
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