A friend of mine and former neighbour from Nantes lives less than an hour away, just south of Toulouse. We’ve had lunch a couple of times since I moved to the Gers, and yesterday was just one of those times. It’s always an opportunity to catch up on news, and we chat the time away over lunch. It always seems too short, even when we end up being the last patrons still sitting over coffee, and they start sweeping the floor around us. Some people just can’t take a hint…
Last time, we met at Le Genty Magre (3, rue Genty Magre, a stone’s throw from the Musée des Augustins). This time, I was hoping to bring Catherine to L’Air de Famille, 20 place Victor Hugo. It’s one of my favourite spots in town (as you might know, if you’ve been reading my blog), but they don’t take lunch reservations for any other time than opening time, at 12:30. By the time we got there – 1p.m. – the place was full and we were standing on the sidewalk, weeping. No, not really 🙂 Luckily, there is no shortage of nice restaurants in Toulouse.
Just on the other side of the marché Victor Hugo is La Gourmandine where the food is great and the waiters are handsome, especially that one fellow with the most fabulous beard and waxed mustache. Very 1900s. Yum. But I digress… La Gourmandine is split into two: the restaurant proper, with a full menu and fancy table linen, and the bar, which is more relaxed and has a reduced selection.
My friend ordered a hamburger. This might sound like an unusual choice for a mother of three – I saw a meme on the Internet the other day that said something along the lines of “Every time you go to McDonald’s when you are a child is a victory. Every time you go as an adult, it’s a defeat.” – but there is a move towards what could be called “quality artisan burgers” with top quality ingredients and fresh-baked burger buns. This one was just that kind and looked amazing. A hamburger for the discerning adult. Also, the hand-cut and super-crispy chips were killer.
I had seared salmon with squid ink spaghetti. I can say two things about this: 1) It was delicious. The fish was crispy on the outside and succulent inside. 2) There wasn’t quite enough of it. I ordered a side salad to avoid going home hungry (the side salad was delicious, too, with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan shavings).
The bill was under 23 euro each, including coffee, sparkling water, and a lovely glass of Chablis. And, of course, spending time with a friend… priceless!
I have no photos of our meal. There are times, even for a food blogger, when your phone should stay off the table. I will try to get a snap of that waiter for you, though 😉.
La Gourmandine has a market-side terrace during the summer and their menu evolves frequently with what’s in season. Mega big positive point: if you wish to eat with your children, the staff make you feel perfectly welcome. You won’t be relegated to the table between the kitchen and the restrooms in this restaurant.