Dinner at Intimate and Unpretentious Restaurant Ressources in Bordeaux

Whisperings about a collaboration between two of Bordeaux’s culinary giants began back in June and reached my ears through water cooler gossip with colleagues in wine by mid-summer. A promising new adventure for 1-Michelin-starred Tanguy Laviale of the now-closed fine dining institution Garopapilles, who would be teaming up with Chef and Owner of Racines, Daniel Gallacher. Chef Tanguy would bring with him Garopapilles’s carefully curated stock of bottles and his allocation agreements to guarantee a wine list of dreams. And this would all be going down in my hood, on ye olde Rue Fondaudege, a booming hub now fully revived by the arrival of the Tram D line. Lucky me.

The restaurant officially opened its doors on October 5th, and in the days that followed I would scour the web to find any information on how it was going. A sample menu, an exerpt of the wine list, a review of any kind. But I found nothing. Communication seemed (and still now seems) largely limited to word-of-mouth and Instagram – a few shots of their first dishes, some very exciting wine porn (Michel Grisard, Romain Henin, Stéphane Bernaudeau) and UGC story shares from the first few lucky diners. Shortly after my return from England I made a reservation for two and arrived for dinner, overflowing with anticipation. The menu is quite flexible in format, based on a rotating list of small-ish plates, among which you can choose 3, 4 or 5 à la carte. You can also just decide the number of plates and leave the choice of dishes up to Chef Tanguy.

For wine, I was gravitating toward a red Jura or Burgundy, but asked our waiter (/sommelier?) for his recommendation and he came back with the very Jura-like Escalada Do Sil 2018 by Alberto Orte from the Valdeorras DO of Galicia in northwestern Spain. He expained that this wine blended cool-climate red grapes Merenzao (the local name for Jura’s Trousseau) with Mencia from a steeply terraced plot of slate and volcanic granite at a rather high elevation. Gorgeous aromas of crunchy cherries, boysenberries, blue fruit and violet, along with something slightly herbal and green, with a savory spice on the finish. A concentrated and lively palate on this bright mountain red with fabulous acidity from great diurnals and lacy, smooth tannins forming a structure reinforced by whole-cluster fermentation. The perfect choice for a dinner dominated by the earthy and gamey flavors of autumn.

To start, we ordered some olives and eel to snack on while our mains were being prepared and these came with a basked of crusty and spongy sourdough bread from Atelier Landry. The olives were a nice mix of green, brown and violet, deliciously meaty, fat and full of flavor. The smoked eel bits were quite dense and firm in texture, served with a lovely cream made with eggplant, elderflower and citrus. Pretty wood sorrel leaves added a nice touch of color and another tart lemony zing to offset the smoky, fatty fish.

Ben got two heavenly pieces of marinated bonito tuna served on a cloud of fluffy potato foam, which covered a juicy meat-colored ingredients, some caramelized onions and bits of fennel seed, adding a fresh licorice flavor. Delicious from the one bite I managed to negotiate.

‘Tis the season for cèpes in the Sud-Ouest and every year at this time I beg Ben to convince his father to take us foraging to his secret spot in the woods. It’s our 6th autumn in France and still no luck, to my great chagrin. And while he remains resolute in his decision to not reveal his source, that doesnt stop him from flaunting his find and sending pictures of monstrous heaps of just-picked shrooms on his kitchen table. Maybe next year… The cèpe dish at Ressources is fantastic. Some hearty chunks of Médoc mushroom are sautéed with delicate layers of pearl onion and something slightly smoky and salty (like bacon or guanciale), then layered over a bed of tart and tangy goat’s milk labneh seasoned with tarragon. The contrast between bright, cool labneh with the warm, earthy, peppery mushroom mix is fantastic; the juices of the latter swirl together with the white cream to create a seamless blend of flavors. Some purslane here and there adds an extra peppery note, while bits of toasted walnut add a warm, earthy touch.

Ben’s magret d’oie was exceptional. The goose breast was served a warm red rare, with a healthy layer of silken fat which hydrated the meat as it cooked and imbued it with an unparalelled richness. It melted in the mouth, leaving behind a very pronounced gamey taste, a deliciously sensual and savory twang of iron-rich blood. The meat was served in a pool of its deeply flavored pan juices, a mix of tender black trumpet mushrooms and girolles, along with the last tomatoes of the season, lightly pickled.

The farm-raised quail – a plump breast and Frenched leg – was truly exquisite. A mouthwatering layer of sticky, fatty skin ripped to reveal little lumps of tender meat, delicately gamey in flavor. The meat was served on a bed of sautéed Médoc green beans, cooked in a way that locked in the vibrant verdant color and mixed with some funky wild garlic leaves (ail des ours). A bit of tomme cheese shaved on added a mellow nutty flavor and creaminess, while the pickled wild garlic buds added acidity and pizzazz. Perfect.

Ressource’s “yang” dessert that evening was a beautifully landscaped plate with a crunchy granola-esque chocolate crumble, a smooth and fluffy milk chocolate custard (sprinkled with sea salt) and a chocolate-hazelnut mousse, which was topped with a crunchy caramelized wafer.

A not very common fruit called a citron, which looks a bit like a large, bumpy lemon, was sourced from a Catalan citrus-specialist named Damien Blasco in Roussillon and brought to the height of its potential through a delightfully refreshing dessert. The yin to the chocolate’s yang. There was a tangy and slightly bitter layer of marmelade, topped with something sweet, some paper-thin slivers of the fruit (I think with the peel on, for an extra bit of bitterness) and a silky-smooth honey ice cream. On the side were three little madeleines stuffed with the same marmelade, the bitterness of the latter balancing perfectly with the sweetness of the pastry. A perfectly fresh, palate-lifting finish to a wonderful meal.

We both felt super comfortable in the interior dining room of Ressources, where the atmosphere was intimate yet totally unpretentious. Seats were cozy, the décor was elegant yet understated, slick hip hop beats created just the right vibe and service proved to be flawless from beginning to end. Our waiter clearly knew both the menu and wine list inside-and-out, ready to delve into the minutiae every time I asked a question. We will no doubt be back at this new neighborhood favorite.

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