La Reserve is a venerable establishment in Albi on the banks of the River Tarn, right off the main road that leads to Cordes-sur-Ciel, another tourist draw. Now that Albi has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site, more people are bound to visit.
We celebrated our 20th anniversary dinner there and were quite disappointed. The setting is pleasant. On a summer evening, everyone was dining at tables on the terrace near the pretty swimming pool, overlooking a lawn and the river.
As one other reviewer here mentions, the welcome at the front desk was rather formal and chilly, though the young serving staff in the dining room were pleasant, friendly and capable. We both ordered the 45 prix fixe dinner. While we waited, I had a glass of champagne--which later turned out to cost 14 euros! That's a bit steep for this part of the world!
The meal itself was quite disappointing. Standard, bourgeous French hotel food.
They try to be modern and innovative--but it just didn't work.
The amuse gueule, a puré of gazpachio, lacked élan and had a metalic taste.
My husband started with carpaccio of duck --which he didn't enjoy at all. I ordered the melon with a mint granita. Original idea, but the granita tasted too much like granules of frozen toothpaste!
We both had fish to follow--dorade (bream) and bar. Mine came with polenta--which is rarely found on menus here--but it poorly made and served in one of those cookie-cutter round shapes so beloved of a certain tired style of French cooking. The ratatouille that accompanied my husband's fish tasted like it had been poured from a jar.
The fish was okay--just bland & dull. It was so processed (no head, bones, tail) that we wondered if they had really been prepared in the kitchen--or if they came out of some packet.
Although it was a 45 euro menu (which is fairly high for the Tarn), no salad, just a choice of cheese or dessert. The cheese was not a cheese board, but a piece of chevre, roquefort and brebis (we think). No one told us. Albi is close to the caves de roquefort and it is terrible to see a local restaurant serve 2nd class roquefort. Even some supermarket roqueforts taste better than what they served. We make fromage du chevre ourselves, and were not impressed with the quality of their offering--more supermarket fare?
My dessert was a hot chocolate soufflé filled with fruit (cherries?), which may have been anoher attempt at originality, but turned out icky.
The only wine by glass is local Gaillac--which can be good. However the first white was so awful I had no qualm returning it. They kindly changed it, but the second was barely better. This is perplexing, since good white Gaillacs are not hard to find! My husband fared better with the red.
What was good? The bread rolls and the service!
If you're a foodie, pass this place by....
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- Also Known As:
- La Reserve Albi