January 5, 2010

Restaurant le 26

Our wedding anniversary falls between Christmas and New Year's and out here in our little corner of France that means that most of our favorite local restaurants are closed for the holidays.
Every year we waver back and forth between wanting to try something new and possibly being disappointed, or going back to an old standby that isn't very exciting but is rapport qualité-prix.*

After last year's foam and pop-rock filled lunch fiasco at an old favorite, we were feeling rather jaded. The lunch was delicious but sadly the chef has gone to the dark side (i.e. molecular gastronomy) and I don't enjoy eating in a science lab.
Though I must commend them on their gorgeous cheese cart.

In the end we decided to be adventurous and try something new.
After searching online a bit I stumbled across a little place in Narbonne called Restaurant le 26. The diner's reviews were all positive and we liked the look of the menu so I called them up and made a reservation for our 10th anniversary lunch.

And what a lunch it was!

The €19,90 Menu d'Affaires offered Oeuf Brouillé au Truffes as a starter, Brochette de St Jacques et Crevettes sur son Risotto as a main course and either a cheese plate or Mousse aux Framboises for dessert. One could also order two of the three courses for a reasonable €14,50.

I almost went for one of the higher priced menus that offered both cheese and dessert, but the eggs and truffles sounded too good to pass up.

It was the right choice.

The eggs had a fluffy, creamy texture and the flavor was delicate and slightly earthy from the little nuggets of truffle that were studded throughout the dish. The light drizzle of red wine reduction gave a hint of tanginess that perfectly complimented the eggs.

The kitchen had run out of risotto by the time we ordered (we reserved rather late - only two hours before lunch) so they offered crushed potatoes instead. They were purple! I loved it!
The scallops and shrimp were expertly grilled and remained succulent and tender, and the sauce tasted like a lobster reduction and was so delicious that I wanted to pick up the plate and lick off every last drop.
But I restrained myself.

The entire dish was perfection.

Half a little Pélardon des Corbières and a wedge of Tomme de Brebis

Of course I opted for cheese over dessert and the duo they brought out were superbly ripe specimens from my favorite Fromagerie in les Halles.

Husband ordered the Raspberry Mousse. It arrived with a crunchy, caramelized florentine that contrasted perfectly with the airy, sweet mousse.

The owners, Frédéric and Sandrine Nalais, hail from Normandy where M. Nalais worked as
Gilles Tournadre's sous chef for several years. The couple moved south about ten years ago and opened le 26 two and a half years ago.
The menu is comprised of fresh, seasonal ingredients and offers a sophisticated breath of fresh air to the dining scene in Narbonne.
The ambiance is intimate, warm and welcoming and the restaurant is incredibly good value.

Restaurant le 26 est un vrai bijou!

Restaurant Le 26
8, boulevard du Docteur LACROIX
04 68 41 46 69
website: http://www.restaurantle26.fr/topic/index.html

*value for money Pin It


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

What a wonderful looking meal..it all looks great.

I know what you mean about "foam" and science lab experience, I just don't get it at all.

Thanks for sharing your experience there, it is very good to get the views of people, just incase we are ever there!

Veronica said...

ooh, I am dribbling at the sight of the truffled eggs! I don't know that resto, but it looks as if it's definitely one to try. Like you, I just can't face the St Crescent any more; and it used to be our first choice for all special occasions.

Jean said...

As my birthday falls during the Christmas tinselfest and our anniversary falls in the doldrums between Christmas and New Year, I know just what you mean. Finding somewhere to celebrate can be a challenge.
Congratulations on your anniversary and on finding somewhere good to celebrate it!

martha said...

Bonne Anniversaire and congratulations on finding a restaurant that still serves real food, properly cooked. The photos are gorgeous and make me wish I could afford a visit to your part of the world - soon.

Emm said...

What a wonderful meal! Thanks for the description and pictures. And Bonne Anniversaire.

I've sent the info on the restaurant to a friend in Lyon, just in case they get to your neighborhood soon.

deedeeinfrance said...

The eggs and truffle look great!

Loulou said...

Glad you liked the review. I don't often write them, but we were so impressed by the meal that I wanted to share it with others.

It used to be an African resto, very close to the hospital.
Sad about the St Crescent. We went there 3 times and the first 2 were amazing, but the last time was so disappointing.
Let me know if you try le 26.

It is a challenge, isn't it? You should celebrate your birthday twice a year...once in the winter and then have a big party in the summer. :)
Thank you for the congratulations.

You'll have to let me know when you finally have the chance to head down here.
Happy New Year!

Great! I hope they have a chance to try it if they come down here.

It was sooooo good.

spacedlaw said...

That looks great indeed! I don't think I'll be by any time soon but it is nice to know that not everyone has gone over to the dark side.

Giles Denmark said...

Thanks for the lovely photos - yes - i think restaurant 26 is a little gem in Languedoc - i have to go back soon...

I am always on the look for restaurants to go to in the area for my site Le-Guide.Com

If you have any thoughts please tell me

all de best

Giles Denmark

Loulou said...

We considered two other restaurants before discovering that they too had gone to the dark side. When will this trend end I wonder?

We would have gone to Lo Cagarol but they are closed until the end of January.
Happy New Year!