Gourmet visit to the Ousta-Maï restaurant, in Saint-Maximin

Our visit to the restaurant Ousta-Maï, which is celebrating its very first anniversary, is proving to be a delightful moment.

FR - Nestling under a tiny pine forest on the heights of the village of Saint-Maximin, the restaurant Ousta-Maï is a haven of peace and an address to remember for gourmets and other gourmands.

With chef Jean-Paul Lecroq at the piano and his wife Sandrine, a fine oenologist, in the dining room, the tone is set: the place shines a spotlight on French gastronomy!







The restaurant's sober but cosy decor is pleasant and invites the guests to savouring the local menu.

The couple have over 40 years' experience in the world of gastronomy, and this is not their first time at the head of a restaurant.

Having administrating the Château de la Caze in Lozère, the region Jean-Paul is from, for almost 20 years, they have become masters in the art of running such a place, as the 15th-century château was a real challenge, both in terms of the kitchen and staff management.

When they decided to turn the page and leave the Gorges du Tarn, they embark on a completely different project, and settled in Sorgues, in the Vaucluse.

La Table is then a new challenge, perhaps a more personal one, which sees them returning to a more family-run restaurant, and where the menu easily find their fans. The cuisine is simple yet sophisticated, offering something for everyone's taste buds.



Ousta-Maï©nb UzEssentiel



2019 marks the end of the Sorgues parenthesis. Although a Spanish adventure as a private chef in the Teruel region was on the cards for a while, it was finally in the Gard that the couple found the ideal location for their new restaurant.

They came across what was to become the Ousta-Maï by chance in Saint-Maximin during their property visits. Completely redesigned, the house was gradually transformed and enlarged, a terrace was added. And the pandemic proved to be the perfect time to fine-tune the fittings and decor, with touches of past life thrown in here and there, like the warm-coloured paintings from Château de la Caze, a perfect match for the place, or the ceramics. As for the chandeliers, these large flowers gently light up the main room with their diaphanous petals. Lovely.

Ousta-Maï, already a year old

The restaurant, which opened its doors in 2023, bears a name that is not without reference: Ousta, "house" in Occitan, recalls the Lozère origins of the head chef, and Maï, "again" in Provençal, recalls the eternal reinvention of the chef's profession.

A confidential gastronomic address, Ousta-Maï has a maximum capacity of 18 covers. A conscious choice, so that each guest can make the most of the menu, which elegantly and flavourfully promotes local and seasonal products.

The open kitchen gives guests the chance to watch the chef in action, while enjoying Sandrine's expert advice on the wines, whose extensive list is the stuff of dreams.

Good to know: A new menu is concocted every fortnight, highlighting seasonal produce and working with local suppliers for vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and mushrooms, most of which come from the Gard region.



A few examples of appetisers to whet your appetite? Asparagus from Vers-Pont-du-Gard, sweet onions and chestnuts from the Cévennes, truffles... and, among the wines,some names come out such as Tardieu-Ferrand, Domaine du Lys, Costière de Nîmes or Mas des Volques and Domaine de Poulvarel and, more widely, Riesling, Clos des Papes or Crémant du Jura...


Many thanks to Sandrine & Jean-Paul Lecroq for their warm welcome and collaboration to this article.

The right address: Restaurant Ousta-Maï, 11 rue des Pins, Saint-Maximin. Open Wednesday evenings and Thursday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Bi-monthly seasonal menu.

Information and reservations: Tel 04 66 68 03 88, oustamairestaurant@gmail.com.

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