How to taste the dishes of the starred chefs of the region without paying the high price? Have lunch in their brasseries. Many have chosen to offer recipes at lower prices in order to make their cuisine more accessible. So, Gagnaire, Pourcel, Bras, Attrazic, Fontes, Nutile? You choose.
Rodez: the arms at the Soulages museum
Fabulous cuisine of the moment at Café Bras in Rodez. It is “bright, thoughtful” and “does not scatter in the imagery”, insists yours at les Bras, a family with two stars for Le Suquet and haloed with an undeniable reputation. This brasserie is a bit like the second “kiss cool” effect of the Soulages museum. After the first slap administered by the late master of the Outrenoir, Café Bras gives you a second slap. Gourmet this time, with its sensitive and refined cuisine, both liberated and controlled! Great art by executive chef Christophe Chaillou, forged by Michel and Sébastien Bras, who makes it a point of honor to work with products from the Ruthenian market, “the finest in France”. Thus, the pig’s trotter is found on the plate, accompanied by black pudding, hazelnuts and green lentils, and the endive ends up grilled and breaded with gomasio.
Café Bras, Foirail Garden, Rodez. Such. : 05 65 68 06 70. From Tue. to Sun. and Sat. evening. Full menu: €39.
Nîmes: Jérôme Nutile at the Bistr’au
Jérôme Nutile is a hard-working and talented chef. He was one of the youngest double stars in France at the time of the Hotel du Castellas in Collias and opened 8 years ago, the Mas de Boudan in Nîmes with which he won a star. Next door – the cuisines are the same – his Bistr’au offers variations of his dishes, simpler, less expensive but still just as demanding. The menu changes every day and adapts to the seasons and the regions, like any good self-respecting restaurant. Have a look: pumpkin velouté with smoked duck breast seasoned with truffle oil, lime zest, fillet of mackerel just snacked, variation around the artichoke, Nantes butter or chocolate dessert cream, almond tuile and ice cream pistachio. The chef also opened a very recommendable Italian restaurant, Georgi’au, a few steps from Mas de Boudan, Georges-Besse park.
Le Bistr’au, 351, Chemin Bas du Mas de Boudan, Nîmes. Such. : 0466406075. Starter, main course, dessert: €28 or starter and main course or main course and dessert €20.
Nîmes: Pierre Gagnaire at L’Impé
Having lunch at the L’Impé brasserie is above all enjoying a mythical place. The Imperator Hotel, completely renovated in 2019, has regained its former glory. In a chic neo art deco decor, you can taste the cuisine of Pierre Gagnaire, who has won two stars with the gastronomic restaurant of the establishment, Duende. It is its very talented executive chef, Nicolas Fontaine, who gives substance to the multi-starred recipes. Delicate dishes, anchored in the terroir, Mediterranean, which arrive at the table well prepared. To be able to offer menus that are still affordable, the products are less noble but worked with the greatest care. semi-salted anchovies, the egg is poached in a garlic sauce and served with a tomato soup, the sweet onion gratin married with Roquefort, curry and chorizo, and the rhurarb is stewed for dessert with kirsch and a cream cheese sorbet. With a starter and a main course or a main course and a dessert, the inevitable bottle of water and coffee, you still have to count 50 €. But the exceptional location and the quality of the menu banish the tiny aftertaste… of macaroons left by the note.
Brasserie L’Impe, 15 Rue Gaston-Boissier, Nîmes.Tel. : 04 66 21 03 74. Starter, main course or main course, dessert: €38. Full menu: €53.
Montpellier: Charles Fontes at The Tree
At L’Arbre, it’s pianos with four hands. Charles Fontes, the starred chef of the Réserve Rimbaud, and Eric Cellier, former chef of the Maison de la Lozère, offer on the first floor of the White Tree, a cuisine as contemporary as the place. The two chefs wanted bourgeois but modern, balanced and accessible dishes. In a minimalist and soothing decor, the menu does not offer set menus but a la carte starters, main courses and desserts. Like this perfect artichoke egg with roasted hazelnut oil, this duck leg confit, polenta, citrus fruits, olives and figs or even this floating island with coconut, custard with passion fruit. On sunny days, a suspended terrace with a view of the Lez makes lunches even more enjoyable.
L’Arbre, 10 forecourt Oscar-Niemeyer, in Montpellier. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations: 04 34 76 96 96. larbre-restaurant.fr. Admission, €12; main course, €24, dessert, €10.
Aumont-Aubrac: Cyril Attrazic at La Gabale
Cyril Attrazic, from the restaurant Chez Camillou, in Lozère, on the edge of the A 75, is a pioneer in the region. He launched his brasserie in 2008, when his Parisian colleagues were opening bistros. “People push the door of a brasserie more easily than a bistro, I wanted to democratize my house, the result was incredible”, he rejoices. The brasserie is on the ground floor and the gourmet restaurant above. On the walls, panoramic photos of Aubrac landscapes. Cyril Attrazic has democratized to the end… On the other side of the road, he has taken over the historic building of Chez Camillou founded in 1928 to make it a small bistro named after his grandmother, Linette, with a menu €17 or starter-main course-dessert €25.
Brasserie La Gabale, 10 route du Languedoc, Aumont-Aubrac. Such. : 04 66 42 86 14. Open every day except Thursday. Menu from €21.80.