Le Saint Eutrope

When Harry met Ali

She’s Ali Johnson, and he’s Harry Lester. You’d be mistaken in thinking these names sound like those belonging to British spies. Indeed, these punchy monikers do have a certain English sound to them, as Harry and Ali are Londoners born and bred, who fancied a change of scene. After having opened an inn in the village of Chassignolles in the Centre-Val de Loire region (hometown of none other than the former international footballer, Dominique Bijotat), the couple decided to head off and discover the Auvergne in 2013. And so, they created a new place down a tiny street near Place Gaillard, and name it Le Saint Eutrope,. And to be completely honest, it’s become one of the city’s best restaurants. First things first, just take the décor and the ambiance, which features traditional woodwork and globe ceiling lights, while the tables are dressed in white table cloths. And then there’s the menu…Harry knows exactly how to put it into words.

According to him, his cuisine fits with French traditions, as it is well-thought out and carefully made. Besides the fact that a little bit of flattery never hurt anyone, it’s difficult to fault the chef. So let’s start with the wine list. As the man behind the Fête du Vin in Chassignolles, Harry inevitably knows all the best names on the organic circuit, and offers a large choice which is constantly changing. A huge map of France even covers one of the restaurant’s walls, pinpointing the latest boozy arrivals. As for the dishes, you’ll find the same enthusiasm and delight for welcoming and hosting (which come in at 21 euros for a three-course meal). The simple and refined menu changes regularly, however, you absolutely have to try their tripe! And if you’re left wanting more, or if the Le Saint Eutrope is fully booked, simply head to the tiny watering hole they created next door. Expect smaller plates, but with wines that are just as good. Ali and Harry are quite simple magicians!

Nico Prat