Between salty land and rough seas
"La Butte" has two major assets : its postcard-worthy environment, punctuated by a sky and landscapes in perpetual motion. And its interest in local life, making it a well rooted gourmet restaurant. Close to the land, but also to the sea,in all meanings of the word. What's in the plate ? Breton lobsters, shrimp from the neighboring bay, pig from the Plougastel meadows fed on strawberries and whole milk, sea fennel and rock from the surrounding trails, all merging with finesse in an iodized partition that will get your heart sailing.
« We pick samphire, sea fennel and purslane on the foreshore where the restaurant is located. They are very iodized and salty herbs that allow us to season dishes. Hogweed, a citrus-flavored plant that brings acidity to dishes, is also harvested on the nearby sea paths. »
Nicolas is an intuitive chef. He didn't go to cooking school, nor did he learn from great chefs. When he and his wife Solène decided to take over his in-laws' house in 2007, he put his apron on and started training "on the job", as they say. What could have been a hindrance to his career as a chef turned out a godsend. In this changing world, the gastronomic restaurant model as we know it - luxury at all costs - must evolve. And of course, it is easier to break the mold of the existing mindset and release the flow of innovation, when it isn't the model one grew up with. So instead of technique, Nicolas first acquired common sense. Rather than military rigor, he chose benevolence. Instead of cooking books or social networks, he draws his inspiration from the great outdoors. “I only have to walk down a path or on the beach for inspiration to come to me,” he says. To feel what is going on around us all the time is extremely nourishing. In fact, when his market gardener offers him peas in January, he doesn't hesitate to cook them. "Heresy", do you think? “These peas grew responsibly and without special help, thanks to the unexpected sunshine of a winter month. Why would I have refused them? After all, the seasons change too. Nicolas knows how to break free from the ancient rules that resonate with him as nonsense. This is what characterizes his cuisine.
- Author: Maëva Terroy
- Photos: Anne-Claire Héraud / Simon Cohen
«In gourmet restaurants, for example, we learn to use cling film to give an aesthetic shape to a fish fillet. It does not make sense ! There are a lot of bad reflexes to deconstruct in this environment. Not having been trained in the technique of French gastronomy is ultimately a chance.»
Le Comptoir de la Butte
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