Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Le Mimosa

Le Mimosa is one of the most famous restaurants in the Languedoc. Le Mimosa has been successfully running now for 25 years. It is owned by David and Bridget Pugh. It will take another blog to explain their fascinating life stories. But, I first will tell you about my meal at their restaurant. I eat at their restaurant at least once every time I am back to France and I have been eating there for the last 4 years and have never been disappointed.

We were accompanied by friends from Thailand, so it was a
table of 7. I have to apologize for my photos. I turn off the flash of the camera in restaurants so that I do not disturb the other customers of the restaurant.

The start of the dinner was a simple pan fried scallop, but boy oh boy was it cooked perfectly and tasted so fresh and good.

The next dish (from right to left) was a soup of fois gras, a terrine
of fois gras and mild sweet onions on a toasted baguette. The soup was so light in texture but heavy on taste. The terrine of fois gras was soft and silky and the special sweet onion only grown in this area has the softest yet sweet taste to end the dish.
Following that dish was risotto with seasonal fresh asparagus.
The rice was cooked just right, and the flavour of the seasonal asparagus was to die for.  We really appreciated and were reminded how special it is to be able to eat seasonal vegetables.

To be continued

Monday, April 28, 2008

O Bontemps III

Finally the end of our meal at O Bontemps

The dessert was a layer of a yellowish candied banana foam 
and the second layer was a rose mouse with big chunks of marshmallows.  This was my least favourite dish of the meal.   I thought the banana candy foam tasted artificial and the combination of the layers & marshmallows was too sweet.   

The cheese trolly was a delight in terms of originality               
and choice of local cheeses.   The cheese trolly itself was a wonderful piece.  

We ended the meal with coffee and wonderful selection of hand made candy to accompany the coffee.

This was one fine and delicious lunch.  I consider this restaurant now one of the best in the area and would love to return.  The chef is a genious in fusing flavours, turning traditional dishes into contemporary meals without going overboard.  

On top of it all, the lunch menu for starter, 2 main dishes, dessert or cheese was only 45euros.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

O Bontemps II

The continuation of our fantastic lunch at O Bontemps.

The next dish was (starting from left to right) was, a terrine of eggplant, fresh goat cheese mixed with herbs, regional salad and stuffed octopus (in the beginning we were all fooled to think that 
it was bone marrow).  Another wonderful dish with 
fantastic flavours and textures.  A medley of fresh flavours. 

The main dish was a show stopper.  The chef and his 
assistant came barging out of the kitchen with a very long wooden plank with a lovely 600 grams meat on it.  We had to duct our heads if we did not want our heads chopped off from the plank.  It hovers over our heads and landed on a serving table.  The chef slowly & gracefully sliced the tender meat like butter. Cooked perfectly medium rare. 

Accompanying the wonderful meat was a mix 
of bean sprouts & stewed beef with the fusion of 
asian flavours of anais, ginger and soy sauce.  

O Bontemps

I am back in France for my Spring holiday.  Its Songkran in Thailand (Thai New Year).  Its time to have great french food and wine for two weeks. 

Chef Oliver Bontemps used to be the chef at L'Octopus in Bezier.  Now, he has opened his own restaurant called O Bontemps in Magalas.  This restaurant has had a buzz around our area, so ofcourse, we had to try it out.  What was amazing is that you could not get a dinner reservation for the next two to three months, we could only have lunch reservations, for the following week.  So, when we are starving for delicious food in our area, beggars cannot be choosy and we accepeted the lunch confirmation.  

The 'day' of our lunch arrived and we drove to Magalas.  We were greeted with friendlienss and was shown to our table in the middle of the room, which was good because I wanted to witness all that was going on in the restaurant.  There were some tables free.  But the restaurant said that they were completely full.  The reason is that they only accept 
20 people per lunch setting. 

I had already a good feeling about the restaurant when they were friendly and accepted our special companion, Archie the yellow labrador.  They immediately brought Archie a bowl of water, 
which he thought was very considerate.  

While looking at the menu, the chef himself comes out of the kitchen and serves us amuse bouche of mussles in a velvety white cream sauce from a big steel pot.  How often do you see the chef coming out of the kitchen to be so close to his customers.  The mussles were fresh and big.  The sauce was not too salty, which a lot of times other muscle dishes are.  With bits of fresh bacon, it was a great mouth starter.  Even better with the crusty bread dipped into the left over sauce.

The next dish was a fantastic sea snail soup with cabbage foam, brussel sprout leaves toped with salmon eggs and mustard flowers.  Amazing mix of light taste and complex textures.   

(continued in next post)