This smart, hushed restaurant is superb and boasts an incredible terrace overlooking a coastal river, the Lez. Chef Charles Fontès produces classic cuisine respecting the products and lands of the great south and has just been awarded his first Michelin star.
Let’s start with the name, “Réserve Rimbaud”, a magnificent name for a restaurant that came from one of the first owners, Titus Rimbaud, who in the 19th century converted a simple outdoor café on the banks of the Lez into a real, permanent restaurant that soon made a name for itself. In 2006, Charles Fontès took over the La Réserve from the family that had owned it since 1946. A native of Montpellier, Fontès had travelled extensively before returning to the southwest. He didn’t find his calling right away, dabbling in law before realising he was on the wrong track and that cooking was more up his street. After all, he was born into a family of cooks, with grandmothers always in the kitchen, uncles from the Aveyron who were hunters, fishermen and great mushroom gatherers, and trips to Camargue to shoot ducks. He had a jumble of childhood memories and an ever-present “taste for real cuisine”. So it was goodbye law, hello catering school and later, working under chef Pascal Kirsch at Régis Bullot’s hotel-restaurant in Brantôme, he immediately fell in love with the profession. For four years, the young apprentice followed his mentor, alternating summers in Dordogne and winters at the Hôtel des Neiges in Courchevel.
Next came another providential meeting with the great chef Alain Dutournier of the Carré des feuillants restaurant. With this charismatic “no tricks” chef, Fontès learnt how to “confront the product, not alter it and not seek originality whatever the cost”.
Today, his cuisine remains true to the classic creed combining an excellent product with a mastered technique: pan-fried white scallop flesh with marinaded oranges; artichokes, Parmesan, green vegetables and truffles in cannelloni; roast pigeon with duck Parmentier and artichoke stuffed with mushrooms… Natural combinations, beautiful colours and clean tastes in this finely crafted, tasteful cuisine produced with the aid of Fontès’ sous chef, Jean-Charles Paquet.
As well as a lovely name, La Réserve also boasts a very attractive setting following restoration work carried out by Fontanès, with a series of large white and beige rooms, a hushed, peaceful atmosphere (sea rush on the floor) and well-spaced tables. Outside is a garden and, most notably, a terrace overlooking the Lez whose banks form a wall of green where birds and even budgerigars sing…
A selection of dishes
Pan-fried escalope of foie gras, pot-au-feu bouillon, vegetable paysanne
Croquettes of Lez chicken with truffles
Roast veal chop, carrots cooked in Meaux mustard, polenta with truffles
Wild bass, rocket with preserved lemon, oyster jus and shallot tempura
Chocolate, hazelnut croustillant and Chartreuse sorbet dessert
Mango and avocado ravioli infused with saffron
La Réserve Rimbaud
820 av. de Saint-Maur, 34000 Montpellier
Tel: +33 (0)4 67 72 52 53
Menus at €24, €29 and €49.
- Name :
- La Réserve Rimbaud
- Address :
- 820 avenue de Saint-Maur F - 34000 Montpellier
- 04 67 72 52 53