Every year around this time, I start thinking about what Christmas gift to buy for Chéri. It always gives me headaches, because what can I get for a man who has everything already?! Last year, I had found the perfect present: a voucher for two to spend half a day at Domaine Tarbouriech’ spa, topped off with a lunch at their restaurant La Folie. Coincidently- or maybe not…- visiting this oyster specialized estate in Marseillan had been on my wish-list for a long time.
This was last year’s Christmas present. Our first attempt to redeem Chéri’s voucher was half way through March. That’s right, just when the first lockdown started. So, we had to cancel our little pampering trip. The lockdown passed and summer went by so quickly that we forgot about the voucher. Just before the kids went on fall break, I had a moment of clarity and made us a reservation at Le Domaine Tarbouriech. Unfortunately, the spa visit couldn’t happen because of the pandemic. Instead, we joyfully booked ourselves a romantic lunch for two at La Folie just before the kids would be home 24/7. And luckily, this time we were just in time before the second French lockdown!
And boy, were we in for a treat… The experience starts when you park your car and walk to the beautiful, castle-like mansion. Once inside, the interior of restaurant La Folie wraps you in a warm blanket with its sophisticated design. Since cultivating oysters is Domaine Tarbouriech’s main business, you can see subtle oyster inspired design all around. Of course, we ordered some oysters as a pre-starter, and I have to say that they tasted marvellous. Chéri’s real starter was a classic beef tartar, surprisingly seasoned with oysters. On the other side of the table, I enjoyed a grilled mackerel on a bed of eggplant caviar and a divine mustard mousse. So far, so good!
We continued with an excellent grilled sirloin steak for Chéri and fish of the day- which was a beautiful sea bream fillet- for me. Both dishes came with seasonal vegetables and mashes. Obviously, we had left room for the sweet course. Chéri had ordered a more than decent lemon pie, topped off with a big, fat layer of meringue. I, on the other hand, had a chocolate dessert, translated as ‘a set of textures’. And it sure was, with all kinds of chocolatey cakes, mousses and flakes. Too bad we are now in another lockdown in France. I can still taste the sublime flavours of this beautiful lunch, which happened to be our last restaurant visit. Hopefully, we can go sometime again soon!