When several people recommend the same restaurant, it becomes a simple must-visit. This is how Le Bastion in the medieval village of Lagrasse ended up on my wish list. And now I can finally say that I’ve been to this welcoming restaurant, run by two childhood friends. Fabien De Bruyn and Valentin Renaud mastered their kitchen skills based on the techniques of the great Auguste Escoffier. However, they keep their inner rascals alive and confidently add modern twists to their dishes.
Chéri had been on a trip and landed at Toulouse airport, so I thought it would be nice to meet him halfway in Lagrasse. His flight was a little delayed, and I had already ordered as I installed myself comfortably on the shaded terrace. In 2021, the Michelin Guide rewarded Le Bastion with a ‘bib gourmand’, meaning that the food served is of good quality and value. Fabien and Valentin mainly cook with fresh products, respecting the seasons and environment and sharing local values and customs.
As Chéri was running late, I ordered him some delicious sounding tapas from the menu. Luckily, I was in time to opt for the three-course lunch for 34 euros (50 euros including wine pairing). While waiting for Chéri, I relished my starter of a perfectly cooked egg on an aromatic garnish of celery mash and ham. By the time I took my last bite, Chéri had arrived, right in time for the tapas I had ordered for him. He was very happy with his potatoes in patatas bravas style. And the three tacos with pulled veal were a flawless combination of tastes, according to him. My main was a beautifully dressed fillet of pollack with wild green leaves and slightly bitter hints of chicory.
The two chefs both are professional cooks and dedicated pastry chefs as well. Therefore, to Chéri’s relief, he could order a dessert from the menu. His deconstructed pastéis de nata was a perfect marriage of creamy textures. I went for the chocolate dessert made of various preparations, including sorbet, shortbread, and big chunks of Valrhona chocolate. The entire meal was as good as I had hoped it would be, maybe even better. The only problem with Le Bastion is that I want to go back, and I don’t live nearby…