Le Pot de Lapin is a restaurant we've been meaning to try for quite some time but as it's not quite in the centre of Saumur it takes a bit of planning in advance and booking is essential.
To start with we had a carpaccio of monkfish marinated in lime juice served with a few dressed salad leaves and pressed rabbit terrine with prunes, also served with a few mustardy dressed leaves. Both were excellent - the carpaccio was light and fresh and looked stunning on the plate while the rabbit (although I call it a terrine, it was more like large pieces of cooked rabbit set in a soft stock jelly) exceeded all expectation. To follow we both enjoyed joue de boeuf, served provencale style with a gratin of courgette, aubergine and tomato. The beef was tender and was served in a richly flavoured sauce.
There's a very good choice of local Loire wines and also an extensive selection from South and South West France. We took the opportunity to share a bottle of Borie de Maurel, La Livinière, La Féline 2005, which turned out to be absolutely perfect with both the rabbit and the beef. It's two thirds Syrah with a quarter Grenache and some Carignan making up the blend. Full and rich with a rustic but classy palate, good tannin and full of the wild herbs of the garrigue - a little smoky and figgy - fabulous and a real change. On this occasion we had a bottle but there is also a good selection of wines by the glass (particularly useful at lunchtime to avoid post-lunch fatigue)
The portion sizes were large so we had no room for dessert although there was a good selection including profiteroles, oeufs a la neige avec Triple Sec, chocolat moelleux and a good cheese board. With coffee afterwards it came to around 30€ a head.