Toulouse feels like so long ago already! We spent three nights in Toulouse (a quick and pleasant 5.5 hour TGV ride from Paris Montparnasse) and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘pink city’ (named for the pinky-orange colour of its bricks). Apart from the grand sights, including the grand Basilica of St. Sernin and the beautiful Church of the Jacobins, the food was amazing! We didn’t make any bookings and mainly just walked in off the street based of the menus outside and most everything was very good. Only once did we use an online recommendation and that was at J’Go.
We were hungry and tired from walking on our first full day in Toulouse and we settled for a little restaurant along a narrow alleyway in central Toulouse – this was Le Coq Hardi. It was full of locals on their lunch break, always a good sign! We opted for the lunch menu, which was about £12 for two courses if I recall correctly.
A Tarte Mozzarella et Tomate was a simple but lovely start to the meal.
Blai’s Poulet Fermier à la Crème et aux Champignons was the better of our choices. Actually, it was incredible. The roasted leg was massive and doused in a delicious creamy mushroom sauce. The fries that accompanied it were just about the best fries ever – freshly cut, crispy, crunchy, a bit of tenderness, wonderful flavour.
My cassoulet was not the best example, with its very dry beans, but the meats on top – duck confit, Toulouse sausage, bacon/ham – were all excellent.
My Île Flottante was simple but the perfect light finish to the meal.
Le Coq Hardi
6, rue Jules Chalande
For dinner on our first night, we headed to the restaurant-rich area around the Marché Victor Hugo and ate at J’Go, one of a small group of restaurants in Toulouse and Paris.
Blai’s Gigot d’Agneau fermier du Quercy à la broche were thick slices of a most tender roasted lamb leg and he opted for yet more fries on the side. These had clearly been fried in duck fat!
My Grande Salade Fraicheur was the most popular item on the menu with half the tables ordering it. And I could see why! This massive salad with lettuce, tomato, green beans, melon and grilled peppers was topped with duck ham, grilled duck breast, cold roast lamb and the most amazing slice of buttery foie gras I’d ever had.
Desserts were equally impressive. Blai’s Sablé aux abricots et zeste de citron vert was again simple yet well executed and delicious.
My Assiette gourmande autour de l’abricot was a little selection of different apricot preparations – a macaron (dry and the only dud), baked, in a financier and in a pudding. Yeah, we were stuffed afterwards!
16, place Victor Hugo
After a long day in Carcassonne (that’s the next post!), we returned to Toulouse tired and hungry and we fell into one adorable place with great outdoor seating in the centre. Le Troquet was full of locals again and they looked to be having a grand time. I must say what sold it to me was the al fresco seating and the Toulouse sausage on the menu.
And indeed, my sausage was far from disappointing – it was excellent. And that homemade potato puree on the side was wonderfully creamy and buttery.
Blai ordered the fish special of the day – the grilled cuttlefish, which was perfectly cooked to tenderness.
For dessert, we ordered the profiteroles. Our waiter teased me for ordering it after seeing it go past me but I was confused. I ordered profiteroles; what passed me had been a mountain! Yes, it turned out to be a single giant profiterole!
11 Rue Baronie
There’s some seriously good eating to be had in Toulouse and I do hope to return one day, not only to eat, but to further explore the surrounding region.