Dyades Puts a Bucolic French Region on the Culinary Map


Roasted beet roots, Manslois goat cheese and nasturtiums.

Nicolas Buisson

When it comes to culinary destinations in France, you might think of Lyon or Provence before the bucolic Charente Limousine region, best known for its cattle population. But Dyades, a restaurant on Domaine des Étangs, a secluded 11th-century estate 280 miles southwest of Paris, puts it squarely on the country’s fine-dining map.

Returning to his home country after 10 years, the chef Fabien Beaufour intended to create a dining destination that showcases regional producers and that builds on his international inspirations. The backdrop for such aspirations was the remote Domaine des Étangs, which opened as a hotel in 2015 and was once the vacation home of the late billionaire Didier Primat.

After training with the chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who has three Michelin stars, Mr. Beaufour, 35, left France for stints at Eleven Madison Park in New York and Oblix at the Shard in London. Cooking abroad, he felt, was a bulwark against the formulaic path his career would have taken had he remained in France. “French cuisine was too codified,” Mr. Beaufour said. “But here I have carte blanche to create something brand new.”

His approach has served him well: The 32-seat restaurant, which blends rustic and modern touches — stone walls, exposed wood beams and a spartan color palette — earned its first Michelin star in February.

My husband and I marveled at how the menu’s most flavorful dishes were also the most disarmingly simple, using time-tested methods to enhance flavors: Hay-smoked rainbow carrots were served alongside tabbouleh and a citrus sabayon; a generous piece of charcoal-roasted cod came with braised kale and mushrooms in a woody, lichen emulsion; and a shareable shoots and roots plate with greens from the property’s organic garden was served on a “soil” of crumbled malt, made black by squid ink.

The traditional cheese plate was replaced by one seasonal cheese matured in Limoges (on this night, a Saint-Nectaire), which paired beautifully with the chef’s artisanal bread, a laborious loaf that takes three days to make in a medieval oven in the estate’s forest. Dessert was a grapefruit parfait glacé interspersed with macerated citrus for a bright and refreshing finish.

The curious compilation of music from movie soundtracks was the only head-scratcher of the evening, but not even the odd instrumental notes could pull the focus off the plate.

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