Maison Marcal

To be greeted upon arrival with a platter of four freshly baked lemon madeleines whose exit from the oven was timed with one’s arrival is indicative of the type of experience to be expected at Maison Marcal. This attention to detail seems to come naturally to owners Sandro Marcal and Domingo Molina, the former’s twenty-plus years as a concierge in some of London’s top hotels clearly permeating all aspects of the business.

  Situated inside one of the oldest houses in the medieval French village of Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, this weighty structure boasts an unexpectedly delicate interior, and similar dichotomies are present throughout.

Rooms are palatial but rustic; simple but elegant. Vast hardwood floors uphold modern Italian lamps, whose white finishes play off of the surrounding crown moldings and antique furniture. Downstairs, the grand salon is a welcoming but Kubrick-esque chamber of parquet floors and abstract purple furniture, which feels like sports mascots pressed into smooth, felt slabs. Meals are cooked by Domingo and served either in the ample dining room or directly inside the stone-walled kitchen. Eating here feels like taking a meal in a talented friend's house; one who has been toying with the idea of opening a restaurant but should really commit to it. Baking may be Domingo's specialty, but he tackles elaborate breakfasts and three-course dinners with the aplomb of a seasoned veteran. Dishes are sometimes even topped with freshly picked herbs from the garden out back; the subtle greens serving as a reminder of the lush countryside that surrounds the house.
  Like everything here, the garden is also open to guests fur sunning, drinking, or contemplating amidst shedding cherry blossoms. In the afternoon the sun washes over the backside of the house, and underneath the shade of aged trees everything feels deeply calm. With only the occasional sound of dropping flower petals as interruption, it is easy to begin planning a return trip to this truly unique and personal place. JR

This review is included in TTA8. Click here for more information about the issue.

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