November 17 2009
It’s amazing who you can bump into at Café Lavinal in Pauillac’s hip Village de Bages in the heart of the Médoc. The last time I was there, I was having dinner with Jean-Charles Cazes of Lynch-Bages fame when in walked Alfred Tesseron, owner of the neighbouring Château Pontet-Canet.
But perhaps it isn’t surprising that ever since its opening in 2006, Café Lavinal has been routinely patronised by Bordeaux’s winemaking elite. After all, it was designed and built by one of them – Jean-Charles’ dad, the great Jean-Michel Cazes.
The concept is a small brasserie-style restaurant with flavoursome cooking by the Argentinian chef Hugo Naon. He used to work with Thierry Marx at Cordeillan-Bages, Cazes’ two-star Michelin establishment. So naturally, the food doesn’t disappoint. Nor do the prices (not that I was paying on this occasion) – or the portion control, come to that. At around €15, a substantial and delicious duck confit was a steal. And the wine list is more than up to snuff. But what else would you expect?