Saint-Emilion, France: Logis de la Cadene
In Saint-Emilion, the quaintest of towns that it is impossibly romantic, you can find the perfect gourmet dining surrounded by so much history and good wine.
When I was planning my Bordeaux-Saint Emilion-Arcarchon Trip, I had wanted the Saint-Emilion part to be seriously special. After a whole day of vineyard visits, equipped with newfound wine knowledge, I was looking for somewhere incredible to top off a true Saint-Emilion experience. Dining out for me is important, it is an experience, it is about creating memories, not just the quality and presentation of food itself, but the ambience, the timing, your companions, how Front of House makes you feel, the aromas, the sounds…
There isn’t too much choice of restaurants in Saint-Emilion. But after a little bit of digging, I found a gem.
Founded in 1848, Logis de la Cadène is one of the oldest restaurants in Saint-Emilion. The Boüard de Laforest family living in the nearby Château Angélus loved this place so much that they acquired it in 2013. Just February this year in 2017, it gained its first Michelin Star.
You can’t miss this place. It is perched half way down one of the steepest, slippery slopes in town. When I read reviews saying ladies do not wear your heels, I was sceptical, but SERIOUSLY do not wear your heels. If you know me well, I don’t tend to wear heels often despite my 5’4 height, unless it is for a night out (European girls can be so tall I don’t want to be ID’d yet again outside Mahiki) or for gorgeous dinner dates (what is it they say… high heels makes your calves look slimmer and longer? Boys dig that). As this was one of those latter occasions, I had planned to put on my new heels I got for this trip, but I subconsciously slid my feet into my flats (perhaps those review comments were stuck at the back of my mind) and so very glad that I did! The cobbled stones that line the path have become so worn that it had become slippery. I have never come across a metal hand-railing that gets as much love as this one, as you almost have to stop laughing at yourself and others clinging onto it very unattractively as you make your way down the steep slope.
Once you have made it to the small square that the restaurant is located, you can relax as you are in good hands. The old golden stone facade and its wisteria arbour makes for the most gorgeous of settings, and on a balmy May evening, we sat outside on the terrace where it is the prime spot in town.
There are choice of 4 set menus and we went for the Menu Découverte, which I thought was the most reasonably priced menu out the lot, affordable with enough plates to make you feel full and getting the most out of the menu. This was 4 courses for 55 euros, with additional 29 euros for 3 glasses of classic wine paring. The beauty of it was with an amuse bouche, incredible bread and whipped butter, a risotto dish and petit fours in amongst them as included extras that are not on the menu, it felt like you were getting more courses than you had signed up for. Excellent.
The wine pairing gave a good selection of 2 white and 1 red wine, but the boy did note that he wished he had chosen his own. The problem was that the wine list was literally like a bible – a big wad of red leather-bound menu, one would need hours to look through them all!
By the time we had finished, it was dark out but warm, all the tables were still full and wannabe-diners were getting turned away, the fresh air made us feel merry not drunk, and I flexed my Amex but with enough reason, sense of occasion and beautifully presented Michelin-starred food to make it feel like a bargain.
Would I recommend this place? Yes. Location – check; Food presentation and tastiness – check; Wine list – check; Romantic vibes all round – check. What more do you need. Seriously.
Would I come back if I came back to Saint-Emilon again? Yes. I walked past other restaurants but genuinely think that the ambience and more importantly the quality of the food to match is much better here than anywhere else.
Relative Value? For the right set menus yes.
As we meandered back to the only Bed & Breakfast place this little town has that I had found on Airbnb, the streets were dead silent, the street lamps were glowing against a backdrop of starry skies, and I was quietly happy, feeling like a million bucks, sensing that I had hit a jackpot with my dinner choice.