Harry Lester

Harry Lester

Last July, chef Harry Lester of Le Saint-Eutrope in Clermont-Ferrand joined Planque kitchen for our monthly guest collaboration dinner.

In the late 2000s Harry and his wife Ali Johnson left London to start a new life in a remote corner of the French countryside, the Auvergne. It was amongst these unspoilt hills that they set out to bring back to life an old inn, the widely celebrated Auberge de Chassignolles.

Today, Harry and Ali own and run a neighbourhood restaurant in the town of Clermont-Ferrand, where bon vivants and chefs from far and wide return year after year to enjoy a slower pace of life, and the chef’s skilfully executed yet down to earth dishes, deeply rooted in seasonal ingredients and a rich local farming tradition.

After the event, we had a chat about wine.

Here is our conversation.

Harry Lester
Harry LesterHarry Lester

1. You’re handed a wine list, what do you do?

I look to see if there are natural wines on the list (I find conventional wines generally intolerable) and then I look to see what I’ve not tried and interesting, and then what I can afford.

2. How do you know the wine you're drinking is good?

How it smells, how it looks, how it tastes, how it feels inside me.

3. What is something fascinating you’ve been told over lunch?

One always hopes to hear fascinating stories over lunch, where can I begin!

4. In whose company do you most enjoy drinking wine?

My wife’s

Harry LesterHarry Lester

5. Can you describe your ideal combination of wine, music, and setting?

A restaurant terrace without music, just the sound of cutlery on crockery, a wine list full of wine that I haven’t yet tried but want to.

6. What sort of food would you add to the equation?

Perfectly executed, traditional, Italian food.

7. What is the most memorable bottle of wine you’ve drank?

Jambon Blanc 2007

8. Where did you drink it?

At home.

Harry LesterHarry Lester

9. Is there a characteristic you look for in a wine and in a friend?


10. What is your approach to drinking?

Moderation obviously.

11. Do you apply this approach in other aspects of life?

Oh God no.

12. What shall we open next?

Surprise me!

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday: from 6pm
Saturday: from 12pm


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New Opening Times

Starting from this summer our opening times are changing. From Tuesday 1st August onwards, our restaurant will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Saturday as usual.

Summer Break

Our last day open before the holidays is Saturday 5th August. We will be back as usual from Tuesday 15th August.