In a quiet side-street in Colmar, right opposite the house of Martin Schongauer, the celebrated medieval painter and engraver, sits L’Atelier du peintre. It’s an appropriate location for the skilled chef Loïc Lefebvre, whose gastronomic creativity and experience working previously in the top flight of Scottish restaurants is evident the moment you contemplate the menu. French contemporary cuisine with an occasional regional accent is his repertoire. Continuing the arty theme a modern dining room with clean elegant lines provides the backdrop for local artists to display their work. But it’s the artistry of Michelin starred chef Lefebvre that takes pride of place.
Confit of egg yolks (slow baked in peanut oil) on a bed of soft petits pois, decorated with a verbena foam and with a little herring caviar on a biscuit, was sumptuous to look at and to savour, the kind of comforting taste sensation that you crave when feeling a little off colour. But rich, and four eggs proved two too many on a warm summer evening.
Perfectly grilled turbot fillet followed, nestled on a bed of soft beetroot with a tartare of tomato and passion-fruit and to dress the fish what I took to be samphire and bouillon fumé. A combination that was both pleasingly light, sweet and a little rich all at the same time. Incredibly inventive, beautifully prepared and cooked to perfection.
For dessert, a pink and prettily playful twist on the classic vacherin, only now served in a meringue tube decorated like some kind of exotic South seas-shell, filled with rose-water flavoured soft cream cheese and served with exquisite Lychee sorbet and raspberry bons bons. Silence descended on the table as the pastel pink artworks in front of us were quietly reduced to shiny plates.
Accompanied by glasses of Pinot Blanc and later Pinot Gris, the eminent Alsaces cépages, this was a memorable experience.
Charming and attentive service. Recommended.
L’Atelier du Peintre, Open every day for lunch and dinner except Sunday and Monday. Annual closure from August 11 through September 2, 2014. Lunch menu is priced at 24 euros; the Menu Goya is 40 euros. 1 rue Schongauer, 68000 Colmar. Tél. 03 89 29 51 57. [email protected]