I put the call out for suggestions for restaurants in Toulouse and David came back immediately with L’Amphitryon which I’m so glad I acted upon.
It’s about a 15 minute drive from Toulouse, although it took us quite a bit longer because we missed the turn off, then our iphone ran out of battery and we became map-less (a word?). I’m normally very organised, but I hadn’t written down the address or the name and so we found ourselves in a big pickle.
We knew, at least, the town name was Colomiers so we followed the signs and then parked the car in the main street. All I had to do was use my below-average French to ask for directions to a restaurant whose name had escaped me (it’s difficult to pronounce!).
Somehow, once I’d found a newsagent, the name magically appeared from my mouth. I guess that’s how adrenaline works. The locals of course knew the restaurant, it’s their towns pride and joy, and quickly pulled out a map.
The instructions were fairly difficult and seeing my bamboozled face a very kind lady offered to drive in front of us to show us the way. Thank goodness for the kindness of people in small towns. I’d like to publicly thank that wonderful woman for getting us there exactly at 1.30pm – right on time for our reservation.
A complimentary amuse bouche (pictured above) was a fantastic display of textures and very playful presentation.
Yes, it looks a bit like a science experiment, but the single-ingredient theme of chickpea really held it all together. The small butter-y pastry filled with veal bone marrow and chickpeas was a delight. I adore gelatinous bone marrow, even if my arteries don’t.
The small test tube was filled with a thick chickpea soup that tasted a lot like hummous but without the same amount of garlic and a much thinner texture. It got slurped up in one go.
The little black popper tube was crushed chickpeas and preserved lemon. Unwisely, it also went in all in one go and was very delicious, although a bit dry to be shot into the back of the throat. (Chef’s sense of humour?)
The large disk is (from the bottom-up); creme fraiche, finely chopped raw John Dory topped with a thin layer of apple jelly. I would never think to put apple and raw fish together but it worked really well.
The shot glass of cloudy apple juice with apple foam was light and very refreshing but the stand out accompaniment was the apple sorbet topped with grated radish and crushed mint paste. The contrast of the tart, sweet apple with the sharp taste of the radish was just perfect with the mellow fish and rich creme fraiche.
The dark green small blob, I think, is spinach puree. It was deeply savoury and added a welcome balance to the sweetness of the other apple accompaniments.
*This wasn’t the exact name on the menu, it was in French, so you’ll have to make do with my bastardised English versions from here on in.
I didn’t get to eat this but it’s a huge portion for a starter. Made with ceps, which were in season and are especially good in the South of France it was thick and silky (and I’m told, very satisfying).
I love the way the earthy theme is used in both the colours and flavours of this dish; mushrooms have a strong ‘meaty’ flavour and then the confit aubergine takes on a slippery, smoky flavour that’s mellowed out by the creme fraiche.
I think the presentation could have been more careful but it hardly matters when it’s freezing cold outside and you get served a soup with such high quality produce and in a generous quantity. I wish I’d tasted it.
Oh my goodness! Absolutely perfect ratios of juicy meat, melt-in-the-mouth fat and crispy crackling.
I loved the variety of apple accompaniments; smooth apple-cinnamon puree, roasted chunks of apple, apple jelly and raw apple. Phew, so much apple, so little time!
The tiny dark blobs were an intensely flavoured BBQ sauce. Fantastic.
My brother-in-law Tom ordered this. I didn’t get to eat any of it, but he said it was very good. Look at the portion size – HUGE! (Well, by posh restaurant standards).
This was actually a substitution for the menu option which was a risotto. Tom definitely lucked out, don’t you think?
He also ordered the soup starter and the chocolate dessert that follows, so he managed to get all the largest dishes on the menu!
I’m in love with the serving dish. It’s delightfully conical shaped and the base is sitting on a small circle on the side of the plate rather than in the centre. Something about it is very ‘Mad Hatter’ from Alice in Wonderland.
The caramel layer was so thick you could hardly get to the chocolate mousse below. Tom had a hard time finishing this as it was mega sweet.
I find it very hard to resist a cheese dessert. Especially melted cheese… inside deep fried pastry. It was crispy and melty and gooey and everything you could want in a savoury dessert.
I ate it with a knife and fork but I really just wanted to pick it up and bite into it like a dagwood (corn dog). But I’m a lady.
We thought we could just about squeeze in a coffee but then these complimentary petit fours came with the coffee. How can you pass up free sweet treats? Short answer is, you can’t.
A delicious little creme brulee, a perfect pistachio and creme de menthe macaron and an intriguing little tube of chocolate paste to spread on the thinner-than-paper pastry sheets.
You’re not going to believe me when I say this meal was outstanding value at only €29.90 each. That very special lunchtime price includes the amuse bouche, starter, main and dessert.
We also ordered 3 glasses of champagne as an aperitif, sparkling water and coffee to finish. The total bill was only €140 for 3 people. Amazing, considering the regular lunch menu is €75 each. You really must go.
Chemin de Gramont
+33 (0) 561 15 55 55