Lescar: the Arraditz, full of subtleties and simplicity

love of good

Almost three years ago, Olivier Nicolau became interested…

love of good

Nearly three years ago, Olivier Nicolau became interested in pâté crust, a typically French dish, which is ultimately a bit like him: that is to say, rich in nuances and subtleties. A recent attraction for this chef who learned this art on his own, until he reached the final of the world championship in Lyon at the end of 2019. It was only the beginning and he did it again last year, still in the capital of Gaul, which is above all the historic stronghold of French gastronomy.

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Participating in this championship is a real challenge that Olivier Nicolau takes up alongside some of the big names in the field. In his suitcases, he takes with him four pâtés which he calls “Les Paloumayres du Baretous” (see the recipe below) and for which nearly seventy ingredients were needed.

To achieve them, nothing was left to chance. Quite the contrary. “I wanted this pâté to tell a story”, emphasizes the chef who then manages to win the Confrérie du pâté crust prize. A great reward for Olivier Nicolau, who from time to time offers his pâtés on the menu of his restaurant. But not always. “It’s an occasional product, we can’t offer it all the time”, warns the chef, faced like his colleagues with great difficulty in recruiting.

The completely redone room

Beyond the pie alone, Olivier and Karine Nicolau remain first and foremost lovers of gastronomy. A love that obviously transpires at the Arraditz, in the dishes but also in the room, which has recently been redone. A way for the owners to offer the most pleasant possible setting to their customers. “We wanted to create a warmer and more comfortable place, also more convivial”, underlines Olivier Nicolau.

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Since its opening a little over seven years ago, the Arraditz has had time to convince many gourmets, so much so that the restaurant sometimes has a “very luxury” image, which may tend to repel some people . “Luxury is more about know-how. Otherwise it’s a family restaurant, we’re all very simple”, smiles this chef whose menu displays prices similar to those of other restaurants of the same type in the Pau conurbation.

What push Olivier Nicolau and the other Pau restaurateurs to get away with it? Why not ! He sees nothing but positive things in the emulation between these chefs who know and appreciate each other. “We have never eaten so well in Pau. We have a generation of young chefs, from here, who use products from here. Everyone takes this approach. It’s a real chance for Pau”… and therefore indirectly for the Béarnais.

Les Paloumayres du Baretous, an entirely local pie

Olivier Nicolau presented a pie strongly inspired by local history on the occasion of his participation in the world championship. That’s good, the products from here are quite good and famous, and allow us to offer a rich and gourmet pâté. However, with one condition that the chef had imposed on himself: “Let the pâté tell a story”: “All that is a process”, notes the chef who took the village of Lanne-en-Barétous as his starting point. . “It’s a village where you have one side that goes down towards Soule and the Basque Country and another that gives in the direction of Béarn”, underlines the chef. In his pâté, it is therefore necessarily a question of wood pigeons hunted with a net in the woodpigeons of the village. The chef mixes several of the many products of Basque-Béarnaise gastronomy: pork from Ospital, duckling from Duplantier, game stuffing marinated with gin from Guiche, juniper, foie gras, trumpets-of-death, quince, hazelnuts or a salmi jelly with patxaran. All this (and more), followed by “a lot of training, testing and trying”, and you get this tasty dish that you can sometimes find at Arraditz.

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