Taste "bistronomique" cuisine!

Pickles, Nantes

Having sharpened his knives at the biggest names in Paris bistronomie, Dominic Quirke set them down in Nantes, where he champions food that's livened up, where needed, with Asian, Italian and North African Influences. Choice menu items include home-smoked duck breast with a foie gras emulsion, burnt squash and confit sweet potato, or Croisic Meagre fish alongside a carrot and wasabi purée, soy and shiitake broth and pak choi.

Set price lunches: €16.50 (start/main course or main course/dessert), €20.50 (starter/main course/dessert). Set price dinner: €34 (starter/main course/dessert)

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Le Bistronomique, Laval

Founded by Nicolas and Alban, two friends from the region, this tasteful little place has quickly become a heart-throb among Lavallois residents. The young chef works as much as possible with local market gardeners and farmers and has passed through prestigious Paris kitchens such as Fouquet's and Maison Blanche. Example dishes include cod served with a curried marinière emulsion, sweet potato purée and stuffed courgette with aubergine caviar and parmesan wafer (photo). A special mention also goes to the Entrammes snail ravioli drifting on a sweet garlic emulsion, or piña colada-style roast pineapple.
Set price lunches: €13.50 (start/main course or main course/dessert), €17 (starter/main course/dessert). Set price dinners: €26 (start/main course or main course/dessert), €32 (starter/main course/dessert).

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Le Bistrot des Carmes, Angers

On the banks of the Maine, set back from the busy centre, Julien Ruguet is in his element in this exposed-stone restaurant, having worked behind the stoves at several Michelin-starred restaurants. A fan of market cooking, the day we went he served skewers of Black Angus beef simmered bourguignon-style and glazed, along with julienned vegetables bobbing in a tea, dried bonito and mushroom broth. Also on the menu were scallops roasted with celeriac cream, a lobster risotto and flaky biscuit with roast figs, diced apple and home-made chocolate sorbet.

Set price lunch: €21 (starter/main course/dessert) Set price dinner: €31 (starter/main course/dessert)

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L’Épicurieux, Le Mans

This modern-feel bistro met with instant success from the moment it opened in Vieux-Mans in 2016. Nestled into the walls of an old bakery, it has a fashionable décor with pottery, filament bulbs, cement tiles on the floor and an open kitchen, where chef François Ricordeau delights guests with market fish served with Bellota chorizo, a classic risotto with shellfish foam, or roast veal chop alongside gnocchi and mushrooms.

Set price lunches: €15.90 (start/main course or main course/dessert), €20.90 (starter/main course/dessert). A la carte dinner: around €30

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La Suite s‘il vous plait, Les Sables-d’Olonne

With names like Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon on her CV, Mélanie Sire's CV would turn most chefs pale. Since 2016, she has shown off her pedigree at this light-filled restaurant alongside her partner Pierre-Yves Nouchet, who has also worked in prestigious places and presides over the dining room. Both advocate seasonal cooking with a contemporary feel, as shown in this rack of Catalan pork served with celery purée and crunchy wasabi peas, or this hake with creamed mogette beans, sautéed mushrooms and a curry-coconut emulsion.

Set price lunches: €13.50 (start/main course or main course/dessert), €16 (starter/main course/dessert). Set price dinner: €29.90 (starter/main course/dessert)

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It's your turn to enjoy "bistronomie", the trendy and accessible culinary movement that combines bistro and gastronomy cooking in a restaurant setting. We look at 5 places specialising in the trend throughout the different departments of the Pays de la Loire...

"Delicious, beautiful and inexpensive." This motto from Nicolas Boisramé, chef at the aptly-named restaurant Le Bistronomique in Le Bistronomique, perfectly sums up the concept. Here, a new culinary movement has arrived, one that blends bistro cuisine with gastronomic influences to position it a cut above the classic flank steak and shallot sauce or veal blanquette served in brasseries. It's high-end cookery, but accessible in terms of price and, above all, unpretentious. It's all about a relaxed atmosphere here, with customers sitting at a rough-wood table rather than one covered with a white tablecloth.

"My restaurant has lots of hustle and bustle, I don't like it when people feel they have to whisper," confirms Dominic Quirke from Pickles restaurant in Nantes. This virtuoso of the stoves has toiled in prestigious Parisian restaurants alongside big names in French cuisine, like those we introduce in pictures above. Now, all of them are championing fun, uncomplicated cooking made with seasonal products, championing inventiveness and revisiting flavours. Bon appétit!

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