Thursday, June 22, 2017

LE GRENIER DE PEPE, TOULOUSE: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Walking into the little space that Le Grenier de Pepe occupies just outside of the old town in Toulouse, you can believe that the dodads and gimcracks that make up the decor came down from someone's attic. Old tools, advertising plaques or plaques with humorous sayings, rusty lamps and broken clocks, all make for the type of atmosphere that some roadside restaurant chains in the US aim for but fail to pull off. In Pepe's Attic, it's genuine and it works.


We arrived at about 7:30 on a weekday evening without a reservation. Naughty children. And since we were a party of three, small two-person tables would have to be pushed together, leaving an empty place in a small room that probably needed to be filled in order to make the single sitting pay. After some thought, we were allowed in. We were fortunate. Within fifteen minutes, at least three other parties without reservations were turned away. 

 Le Grenier de Pepe advertises as a galette and fondue restaurant and those are your choices - an assortment of those fine savory French buckwheat galettes to choose from with crepes for dessert or fondues featuring either cheese or meats. Cathey chose the cheese fondue Normandy - a full pot combining livarot, camembert, Pont l'Eveque, and cider. Hot and tangy and cheesy good. Both Connie and I went for the meat, Connie the duck and beef for me. Connie's hotpot combined herbed cider, mine was white wine based. Connie's full duck breast was sliced quite thin and only required a few moments in the hot broth to cook through. Sweet, sweet duck. My beef was a bit chunky, requiring a bit longer to cook sufficiently, but well worth the wait. We shared from each other and we all agreed that the experience was unique, a fun and rewarding culinary find.

Fun? We were warned by our server that the cheese pot required constant stirring and that I, as the man at the table, was charged with the task. She would keep an eye on me, she said. And she did, pointing to her eye and back at me each time she bustled past our table. She also told us that if we didn't finish our entire meal, we would be required to do go back in the kitchen and do the dishes. Some might have found that sort of server interaction on the familiar side. We didn't and I think that she understood that.

Our dinners came with a choice of a salad or a charcuterie plate. Either made a satisfying start. The mains came with roasted potatoes. I finished with a couple of scoops of ice cream to ease my heated mouth. No other dessert. No coffees or digestifs. Rose en pichet for the girls and a beer for me. 80,50 euros total.

Well worth the price. Recommended.








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