Le 1217 – A Michelin-Starred Crown Jewel Of Château De Bagnols

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Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Salle des Gardes, where you'd see the royal coat of arms marking a visit by French King Charles VIII in 1490. Photo credit: Vivienne She

1217, the founding year of Château de Bagnols and from where its gourmet restaurant takes its name.

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Le 1217 - A Michelin-Starred Crown Jewel of Château de Bagnols. Le 1217 review by White Caviar Life.

Walking through the dining room Salle des Gardes, you can’t miss the ornately carved Gothic fireplace filling one entire wall and it’s reputedly France’s largest! Let’s take a moment to indulge in seeing this architectural gem; it is where you will see the royal coat of arms marking a visit by French King Charles VIII in 1490.

Keep walking towards the gardens from Salle des Gardes, there are dinning tables on a double masonry bridge over the moat. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Keep walking towards the gardens from Salle des Gardes, there are dinning tables on a double masonry bridge over the moat. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Keep walking towards the gardens, there are dinning tables on a double masonry span over the moat, with the lavender path on one side; Salle des Gardes on the other, our table was right there.

Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Kent and I favoured eating on the moat terrace during our stay at Château de Bagnols. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Kent and I favoured eating on the moat terrace as in summer, alfresco dinning seems so enchanting. Plus we take pleasure in watching nature’s theatre, the clouds the sunset the twilight and the stars…

Michelin-Starred Chef Jean-Alexandre Ouaratta

From left to right: Photographer Kent Johnson, Michelin-Starred Chef Jean-Alexandre Ouaratta and White Caviar Life creator Vivienne She at Le 1217 Restaurant.
Kent, Michelin-Starred Chef Jean-Alexandre Ouaratta and I share a cheerful moment!

Chef Jean-Alexandre Ouaratta transformed the gastronomic experience at Château de Bagnols. Traditional local fare made with great skills and innovation, his hard work was rewarded with a Michelin star in 2016 – Le 1217’s first! Kent and I enjoyed Chef Ouaratta’s creations on several occasions during our 12-night stay at the Château. But for now I want to share with you our dinner celebration on Kent’s birthday.

Menu Guichard D’Oingt

A wonderful fine dining experience at Le 1217 restaurant in Château de Bagnols.
‘Happy birthday to you Kent!’ Photo credit: Kent Johnson

We were on time for our 19:45 booking, and being the French summer it was still quite bright for this time of the night. There were à la carte and some dégustation choices, Kent and I both set our eyes on the Menu Guichard D’Oingt. It had foie gras which I loved; lamb, which Kent fancied, and fish, which we were both keen on. Also we chose it for the sake of the name; after all, we knew that it was Lord Guichard d’Oingt who built the Château in 1217.

Wine Choice Of The Night: Château de Javernand – Chiroubles 2011

A wonderful fine dining experience at Le 1217 restaurant in Château de Bagnols.
Wearing his ‘birthday suit’, Kent puts his hand around a cold beer… Photo credit: Vivienne She

Kent the birthday boy started with a local beer, whereas I chose a glass of pink champagne. We decided not to go for the wine paring; instead, we asked our knowledgeable sommelier to pick a bottle of local wine to broadly suit our meal. A Beaujolais red wine produced by Château de Javernand was recommended. It was light and with a lovely bouquet, very easy to drink even by itself.

2011 Château de Javernand - Chiroubles. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Our wine choice of the night: 2011 Château de Javernand – Chiroubles. Photo credit: Kent Johnson
Dinner at Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols in France.
Kicking off Kent’s birthday celebration with a glass of pink champagne… Cheers! Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Amuse-Bouche

Vividly coloured mouth amusers rest on top of a compote filled with coffee beans. Food photography by Kent Johnson. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Vividly coloured mouth amusers rest on top of a compote filled with coffee beans. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

First to arrive on our table, a compote filled with coffee beans, and resting on top, vivid coloured mouth amusers. They looked like children’s fancy candies but all the flavours were savoury; perhaps a little too sophisticated for kids. The mini ‘waxed tomatoes’ were my favourite! How I enjoyed them? ‘Pop one in your mouth and wait for an explosion of flavour to happen!’ I encouraged Kent to try one, it was a hit with him too and I just wanted more!

Sardine Mousse

Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Sardine Mousse: airy, light, a great balance of citrus and saltiness.

Sardine Mousse, a surprise addition to our tasting menu. Airy, light, a great balance of citrus and saltiness. These amuse-bouches definitely offered a preliminary glimpse of Chef Ouaratta’s style and flair.

Roasted Foie Gras From “Maison Rougié”, Victoria Pineapple Candy And Buckwheat Crust

Roasted Foie Gras from "Maison Rougié", Victoria Pineapple Candy and Buckwheat Crust. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols food review by White Caviar Life.
Roasted Foie Gras from “Maison Rougié”, Victoria Pineapple Candy and Buckwheat Crust. What a plate of joy! Photo credit: Kent Johnson

When this entrée was brought to our table, I felt like I was receiving a plate of joy. The bright yellow pineapple jellies and orange pineapple cubes looked playfully inviting! Eating the roasted foie gras together with the pineapple candies, a pleasurable mouthful of sweetness, sourness; saltiness and umami. A great mix of textures too, wobbling, crunchy; meaty…

Roasted Foie Gras from "Maison Rougié", Victoria Pineapple Candy and Buckwheat Crust. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Chef Ouaratta gives the classic foie gras a new lease of life. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Chef Ouaratta definitely gave the classic foie gras a ‘star twist’! As what the Michelin Guide has stated: ‘tradition (cuisine) gets a new lease of life’ at the 1217. This dish was one of my personal highlights from the restaurant.

Cod Fish Cooked Under The Oven Grill, Morel And Corn Fricassee In Jura Wine

Dinner at Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols, France.
What’s under the cloche? Photo credit: Kent Johnson
Cod Fish Cooked Under the Oven Grill, Morel and Corn Fricassee in Jura Wine. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols food review by White Caviar Life.
Cod Fish Cooked Under the Oven Grill, Morel and Corn Fricassee in Jura Wine. Photo credit: Vivienne She

My fish was transparent and flaky. When I cut it through, it felt like cutting a panna cotta or a jelly cube. The texture of this cod fish was something I had never experienced before and it was simply superb.

Cod Fish Cooked Under the Oven Grill, Morel and Corn Fricassee in Jura Wine. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Enjoying the best cod fish I have had to date! Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Not only was my fish cooked to perfection, I enjoyed the morel and baby corns. Being Chinese, these are the sort of veges I’m familiar with. The jus was made of Burgundy red Jura wine. The effect of the whole dish on my palate was very satisfying.

Roasted Saddle Of Lamb “Aveyron” With Kaloupilé Curry Condiment, Crispy New Potatoes

Roasted Saddle of Lamb "Aveyron" with Kaloupilé Curry Condiment, Crispy New Potatoes. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols food review by White Caviar Life.
Roasted Saddle of Lamb “Aveyron” with Kaloupilé Curry Condiment, Crispy New Potatoes. Photo credit: Kent Johnson
Roasted Saddle of Lamb "Aveyron" with Kaloupilé Curry Condiment, Crispy New Potatoes. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Beautiful presentation! Photo credit: Kent Johnson

This was the start of a quest for Kent that has now straddled the globe. ‘What has happened to the taste of sheep?’ He means lamb of course; ‘Bring back mutton!’ This little rant after just a few bites. Despite the meat being exceptionally well cooked, medium rare, melt in your mouth and juicy; the taste of lamb was so subtle that for Kent at least, it did not exist. (After a similar incident in Australia, he took to Facebook to scope out the problem, and was told it’s all about how and where the lambs were raised.)

Photographer Kent Johnson enjoys his birthday dinner at Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols.
Kent has mixed feelings regarding his lamb dish. Photo credit: Vivienne She

An exceptional plate of food! However, while current trend seems to be for very mild taste; old school lamb lovers like Kent still prefer a stronger flavour.

Cheese Plate Selection

An unpretentious plate of selected cheese. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
An unpretentious plate of selected cheese. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

An unpretentious plate of selected cheese. Some of you might think that for a Michelin-starred experience, it could be presented fancier but I didn’t mind the cheesy presentation – wink!

Bourbon And Vanilla Cream

Bourbon and Vanilla Cream. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Our pre-dessert treat: Bourbon and Vanilla Cream. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Then came our pre-dessert. This alcohol infused sweet treat was so tasty!

Nature’s Spectacular Sky Show

Dancing clouds and flying birds. A view from Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols captured by photographer Kent Johnson.
We take pleasure in watching nature’s theatre… Photo credit: Kent Johnson

As you can see the night has fallen… We had been adoring the dances of the clouds and the changes of the sky. Kent certainly amused other guests by jumping up at regular intervals to photograph the dramatic sunset. The nature did put on a spectacular show that evening!

A twilight view from Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols captured by photographer Kent Johnson.
The theatre of the nature puts on an impressive show! Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Soft Peanut Biscuit, Manjari Chocolate And Vetiver

Photographer Kent Johnson enjoys his birthday celebration at Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols.
‘Make a wish Kent!’ Photo credit: Vivienne She
Michelin-Starred Chef Jean-Alexandre Ouaratta and Australian photographer Kent Johnson at Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols.
Birthday greetings from starred Chef Ouaratta himself. Photo credit: Vivienne She

This dessert came with a birthday candle, for Kent. I remember telling him to ‘make a wish’ when I was busy snapping away. About this time Chef Ouaratta came out of the kitchen to greet the dinners, first at Salle des Gardes; when he stepped out to the terrace, we all acknowledged his arrival with applause. Lucky Kent received a birthday greeting from the ‘starred chef’ himself; the loveliness of Chef Ouaratta and the atmosphere of celebration has become a precious memory we both cherish.

Soft Peanut Biscuit, Manjari Chocolate and Vetiver. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols food review by White Caviar Life.
Here it comes… Soft Peanut Biscuit, Manjari Chocolate and Vetiver. Photo credit: Kent Johnson
Soft Peanut Biscuit, Manjari Chocolate and Vetiver. Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols food review by White Caviar Life.
This beautiful looking dessert is nutty, sweet and delicious! Photo credit: Vivienne She

Our beautiful looking desserts were delicious. Sweetness, bitterness; creaminess and crunchiness all perfectly balanced in each mouthful. And an aromatic nutty flavour from the soft peanut biscuit which I liked most. Well we both really polished off our plates!

Satisfaction For Epicureans

Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
Enjoying the last moments of the night. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant in a luxury medieval French castle.., yes, this sounds like a fairy tale lifestyle belonging strictly to the very well to do. But no, the staff of the 1217 made us feel very welcome and relaxed us by treating us with French country hospitality – it showed in their manner, and it shone through in those dishes. Personally I think for a tasting menu, the servings are very generous!

Le 1217 restaurant of Château de Bagnols review by White Caviar Life.
A big thanks to Chef Ouaratta and Le 1217 for enriching our epicurious journey. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Delicious, inventive and well-considered, these are my thoughts remembering the meals created by Chef Ouaratta. Unfortunately this experience is no longer available, as we have learnt from the Château staff that Mr. Ouaratta has left the 1217 this year for a brand new career path. Bonne chance Jean-Alexandre, like many fans of yours, your warmth and appetising signature dishes have enriched our travel and our epicurious journey.

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Le 1217 - A Michelin-Starred Crown Jewel of Château de Bagnols. Le 1217 review by White Caviar Life.
Le 1217 - A Michelin-Starred Crown Jewel of Château de Bagnols. Le 1217 review by White Caviar Life.
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Vivienne is a traveller, author; story teller and sometimes a muse. She seeks a balance between travelling in comfort and style with value; perhaps being the daughter of a hotelier helps there. Through White Caviar Life, you will share in her travel experiences, stories and tips that she hopes to help enhance your own travel.

10 COMMENTS

  1. What a fantastic setting for a restaurant!

    Regarding the meal.. I agree that the taste of lamb is much more mild these days. Now I know why! 😀

    • Thank you for the read and your feedback Hugh. I’m glad we solved the mystery of ‘mild lamb’ here! 😉

  2. Was travelling through Burgundy wine region last fall…. Never knew such a beautiful place exist, otherwise I’d pay a visit. Thank you for the share!

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