One look round Le Cromagnon, a captivating restaurant within the coronary heart of Bordeaux, leaves one sensing its proprietor has a background in creative design.
That notion is strengthened much more when revolutionary dishes, creatively introduced, emerge from the compact open kitchen of owner-chef, Oxana Cretu.
Chef Oxana Cretu. Photograph by Columbia Hillen
Oxana, from the Republic of Moldova who first arrived in France, aged 22 as an au pair, fuses her expertise in sustainable product design together with her ardour for delicacies. The consequence: delightfully shocking mixtures that fulfill each imaginative and prescient and style.
Le Cromagnon (loosely translated as ‘The Caveman’) seats round 30 folks and opened 5 years in the past on rue du Palais Gallien, a stone’s throw from Place Gambetta.
Its décor may greatest be described as ‘minimalist and au naturel.’ Naked wooden tables subtlety adorned with dried flowers and mixtures of grains and metallic wall decorations of seeding wild fennel. An uncovered stone block wall and an air-conditioning vent stretching throughout the ceiling grant a way of authenticity, whereas hints of poetry are created by pure white feathers embracing an overhead chandelier. Seating is gentle, grey, armchair-style.
Sorts of teas fill jars on close by cabinets together with Blue of London, an Earl Gray with bergamot; Vive le The, a inexperienced tea; and Hammam, an natural combo of thyme, mandarin peel and rosemary. Bigger jars include unique spices.
Our amuse bouche served to us by pleasant and environment friendly Laurette, a well-traveled girl, mirrored Oxana’s aptitude for invention. It was a savory ice-cream of caramel and corn in a cone, mild and foamy with grains of the vegetable on prime.
Our starters, which arrived on three stylishly-designed plates, the primary formed like a ship, the second a mini marble slab and the third, flat resting on a bowl, had been equally impressed and included bao or steamed bread with shreds of crab overlaid with matcha sorbet; fried sea anemones; and selfmade tart with an anchovy filling, seaweed and purselane; and ceviche of trout with eggplant and ginger, smoked with a wand of charcoal from cherry wooden.
As mains, we savored wedges of monkfish flavored with mushrooms and cockles in a creamy sauce adopted by a mini pyramid of smoked pigeon, with Tasmania berry sauce, calmly cooked with vanilla and crunchy cashew nuts, the delectable smoky aroma wafting throughout the room because it was introduced in direction of our desk.
Our palate cleanser featured lemon sorbet with granita of inexperienced apple and roasted almonds, with tiny strands of seaweed for added saltiness.
Desserts – just like the previous dishes – are a murals on a plate, our together with hazelnuts layered with dollops of ice-cream adorned with sprigs of seaweed atop.
Reflecting Oxanu’s culinary creativeness, on different events her menu has featured scallops seared in Binchotan, a Japanese charcoal made out of ubamegashi oak, persimmon marmalade and jelly, Sturia caviar and Thai broth; celery and shiitake risotto and shellfish; and pigeon fillet, cashew hummus and smoked almonds, shiso and umebushi (Japanese plum).
Oxana has devoted a lot time sourcing high quality produce earlier than selecting dependable suppliers, thus her greens are supplied by Frédérique Amy-Develay in southwest France whereas citrus fruits are from Damien Blasco within the jap Pyrenees.
A go to to Le Cromagnon can also be an opportunity to style some wonderful and lesser identified wines from international locations such because the Czech Republic, in addition to classics from France, Australia, Argentina and Italy. Much more attention-grabbing, are vintages chosen by Oxana from her native nation. We opted for Fautor Aurore Feteasca Regala, a ‘royal wine’ from Moldova, pale yellow in shade with greenish reflections, with jasmine, floral and citrus notes.
Oxama affords each 5 and seven-course tasting menus and for my part, the standard of the meals and its intricately-designed presentation elevates her restaurant to Michelin-star degree, a recognition I’m certain she’s going to obtain quickly sufficient.