Our son offered us a meal in Christopher Couteanceau’s restaurant in La Rochelle, the only two Michelin star restaurant in the region. We went last night.

It was an excellent discovery.

First, the décor, very soft which evokes the sea, the waves, and its view over the beach of La Concurrence will not leave anyone feeling indifferent. Then, when the dishes arrive they follow the unmistakable theme of the sea; some plates come shaped like water drops, others are decorated with blue sea spray, a beautiful Farol knife in the style of a fishing knife, and saucers decorated with seaweed butter. We definitely are on the seaside…

A few amuse-bouches helped us wait. They followed the seaside theme with their unusual iodine flavours, and we enjoyed the Pâtissier’s introduction of the special breads too. We give a special mention to the seaweed bread; unforgettable!

We continued on to the starters. Foie gras, carrot and kumquats terrine for myself and raw marinated langoustines, seashells with oysters and sea water foam/combawa for Alain.

Alain was delighted with his 100% sea based plate, and I personally loved the combination of sweet and soft confit carrots and the slightly sharp kumquat, all accompanying a perfect foie gras.

For the mains, we both chose a different fish: ballan wrasse filet for Alain and coalfish for me with the same sides. White asparagus with a mix of small green asparagus and Jabugo (high quality Iberico ham), delicate drops of asparagus cream, a light and foamy hollandaise sauce and a tomato and pepper coulis for a bit of spice. Magical!

The fish was cooked to perfection.

We then savoured a pre-dessert. It was a small salted caramel delight which just set us up perfectly to finally taste the desserts that we had ordered. Alain chose a strawberry charentais tourteau with its goat milk ice cream and I fell for a rhubarb and lime pudding served on a white chocolate shell, with a sesame biscuit holding a lime flavoured sorbet. The sesame biscuit and the rhubarb compote were placed on another plate. It’s to die for !

To top it all off, we were served three different bouchées that were the perfect ending to an amazing meal.

I have myself a very sweet tooth and I congratulate the magician-pâtissier of this place. We also thank the whole team and of course our son for this special moment.

We then had the chance to discover behind-the-scenes and the cook came to meet us by the kitchen. We had a chat and the chef, Christopher Coutanceau, is passionate about cooking of course but also about fishing and the environment. He is very active within two non-profit organisations fighting against abusive fishing practices. He campaigns for the protection of the ocean and for a sustainable fishing. He is wise with lots of knowledge about the sea life and sometimes visits schools with his educational hat on and talks to the children.

He definitely is a “Chef” in several fields and communicates very well about his passions.