The evening started with a glass of 2013 Medoc at our aparthotel while researching for places in Toulouse to wine and dine at. Feeling a bit antsy and unsatisfied after scanning through a bunch of restaurant brochures handed over to us by the hotel, I decided to take matters in my own hands and looked up restaurants online. An hour of research and I had stumbled upon Le Bibent by Chef Christian Constant.
Sold at the fist picture I saw of the place, my heart skipped a beat and then had settled to explore this vintage treasure. No time later I had already made a dinner reservation for 2 at the grand opulent 1874 est. Brasserie.
The restaurant is situated on the most famous square of Toulouse the Place Du Capitol and hence we reckoned leaving a bit earlier than our reservation time was a good idea to enjoy a quick pre drink at a bar close by.
Heading straight in time for our reservation at 8pm we literally hopped skipped and jumped from the bar to enter Le Bibent.
As I took my first step into the restaurant I was completely blown away by the Belle Epoque interiors. I stood still for a few seconds and glanced up at the elevated golden aged ceiling and walls that made me feel a little like Alice in wonderland on a date with my Prince charming!
We were elegantly ushered by the friendly manager to a tiny table for 2 by the window. Jackets were taken and hung over in an old velvet closet. Pleasantries exchanged we were given English menus that put us at ease right away.
Wine selection: First things first we had to make up our mind between all the beautiful bottle of red listed in the menu. After a quick discussion with a very informed waitress who inspite of her limited English vocabulary managed to help us make up our mind choosing a perfectly well aged bottle of a 2008 Bordeaux – Esprit de Pavie that was priced at 45€. The wine section had bottles ranging from 20€ to 350€ which is perfect as the menu showed the consideration for all types of guests. (also includes wine by the glass)
Lunch – A set menu for lunch is available * as express or business lunch check -www.maisonconstant.com
Dinner – A set menu with 2 options of each: Entrée–plat ou plat–dessert à 25€ / Entrée–plat–dessert à 31€
We opted for the A La Carte menu as it had more choices.
For the entree I opted l’Apéritif or tasting plate of the Confit de foie gras -7.50€ .Now trust me, I have eaten a fair share of foie gras in the past and never really enjoyed it totally. It has never kept me away from it completely but neither had I ever finished a plate of it. Two big pieces of it with toast and I left my plate absolutely clean. I guess I can finally say I’ve eaten a true authentic silky smooth foie gras that has the whole world going topsy turvey over. I truly understand the fuss about it now. It was served with a thick jam made of raspberry, dates and raisins that complimented the pate perfectly.
My prince charming ordered the Terrine de campagne de mon apprentissage – 15€ that was beautifully infused with spices served with salad and wholewheat toast. Being a man with an appetite he opted for a main entrée that was large enough to serve as a main course for me.
As Plat I asked for the Tartare de bœuf, cœur de sucrine et frites maison – 28€ (Beef Tartare with salad and fries) The tartare was a massive portion of meat served with homemade fries in yesterdays news paper. Fresh, delicious and light seasoned with a hint of onions. It hit all the right spots on the palate with the full-bodied Bordeaux.
The partner in crime who is Dutch by nationality has a true love for all things meat. He opted for the Cassoulet Montalbanais « Marcel Delmas » – 29€. A rich and fatty soup stew with beans in a casserole. Typically French this dish is what will keep you warm on a cold rainy day in Toulouse.
* Côte de cochon fermier d’Éric Ospital, gratin de macaronis et cœur de sucrine – 27€ (Also looked really appetising and could make a good main course but I was slightly put off my the macaroni served with it)
We were already stuffed at this point however our eyes bigger than our stomachs and our greedy minds begged for more. The deserts being passed around at tables were so delicious that there was no way we could walk out with a sweet finale.
Pointing to what seem to be the hot favourite of the night and special delicacy of the place we asked for the mille feuille to share. What a delight it was accompanied with an espresso to help digest the heavy gigantic dinner!
As we waited for our bill we were offered miniature Easter eggs keeping with the holy week and season.
Damages: 130€ including taxes an exquisite bottle of wine and coffee for 2 persons.
I have to say ultimately it was hard for us to lift ourselves off the chair after that long relishing dining experience. A friendly waiter helped us put on our jackets and walked us out to the door handing over a visiting card in case we wanted to recommend the place.
Final Verdict: A must visit while in Toulouse. Reasonably priced with big portions of food unlike the preconceived notion of French servings. Quality of food and service is definitely world class. Our honest compliments to Top chef and 1 Michelin Star chef – Christian Constant for reviving and restoring this national monument in Toulouse.
Until next time and another food review
Bon Appetit X Rochelle Zonnenberg
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