Located just outside the center of Toulouse, Hedone (“pleasure” in ancient Greek) is a small timbered restaurant with a big contemporary mural, where a dozen lucky guests dine on luxurious dishes prepared by Balthazar Gonzalez. The day we went for lunch, the young chef (ex-Robuchon) and his boy band dressed in blacksmith’s aprons put on quite the show with an eight-course menu for €68: smoked herring with smoked cream, a nettle cream and sunchoke petals; a umami-esque bed of button mushrooms, porcini mushroom duxelles, smoked eel and a full-bodied broth; delicious pan-fried foie gras topped with pike roe and oxalis in a sparkling dashi; a Bloody Mary in the guise of a trou normand; a swaggering platter full of lobster; mischievous pigeon with a chicken offal terrine in a concentrated jus, roasted fig and marigold; a Morbier cheese roll stuffed with goat cheese, plus a walnut and gouda tuile; before an unusual baba au rhum made with pastis and coffee instead of rum, and served with a lemon/almond cream; followed by an airy fromage blanc/coriander ice cream with a tangy lemon mousse and a cocoa nib tuile. // M.R.
FEELING THIRSTY? A beautiful collection of naturalist wines: a macerated Gard white from Le Petit Oratoire (€7 a glass), a Beaujolais from Yann Bertrand (€54 a bottle), a Volnay premier cru from Frédéric Cossard (€115)….
PRICE: Menus at lunch €48 and €68 (food and wine pairings + €32) and dinner €104 (+ €51).